Friday, January 28, 2011

Beautiful Collaboration

I got this awesome picture from the Flowing Data post entitled Map of Scientific Collaboration between Researchers; the original work by Olivier Beauchesne can be found here -- it even has a link to a zoomable picture!

The darkness in China is intriguing -- the data are probably incomplete.

The bright and dark regions in India seem to agree with my perception of where the active centers of scientific research are.

Even the brightest corridor stretching from Delhi to Kolkata pales in comparison with what you see in Europe or Japan.


  1. Subrahmanya said...

    I could trace my lines from Thanjavur to various places!

  2. MP said...

    The darkness in China is probably because they don't do a lot of collaboration with the West, they mostly publish with other Chinese.

  3. Abi said...

    @SC: I don't think your interpretation of the darkness in China correct. The picture does include intra-country collaborative links also, not just international ones.

    Do take a look at all those lines connecting cities in the US west coast in the zoomable picture.

  4. Arunn said...


    It is not clear whether only journals listed in Elsevier Scopus alone is used here or journals listed in Thomson's Web of Science (additional to those listed in Scopus) are also included in the data to generate the picture.

    I gather the picture is based mostly on Elsevier journals. If this is correct, then we may need to interpret the picture differently. For instance, researchers in Russia or China may not have been publishing in Elsevier journals (they would prefer their Govt. sponsored journals). For that matter, even USA would lag when compared to Europe.

    Even otherwise (i.e. if the data includes all journals), the brightness aspect is misleading. The denominator used is logarithm of distance rather than, say, area (although that also would rear its own troubles. May be the "total number of authors on that publication" should be used...) between collaborative nodes. So, although I get the hint from your dig on the lack of "brightness" within India when compared to that within Japan, I fear it (your dig) would merely encourage our science policy makers to find ways on reducing the physical distance between Delhi and Kolkata as a solution to increase our "collaborative brightness".

    And, as we know after years of diligent analysis with scientometrics and frank discussions over candid coffees, Indian scientists are good in collaborating with their students and subordinates within scientific organizations. This is not captured in the picture in discussion. (There, I have paid my loyalty fees...)

    Having said all this, if taken as a representative sample, the general lack of brightness or significant networks within and without India when compared to continents and countries en mass like Europe or Japan, could indicate one thing. That, when compared to other countries we do less publishable research (yep, toungue is where it should be).

    But that observation rests comfortably with us already, for instance, even from Prof. Giridhar's scientometrics (discussed here some time back).

    I was hoping you wouldn't interpret the picture, but well...may be it gave us (you and me) a chance to do collaborative science blogging.