Notes on collaboration in scientific communities…

“Several explanations have been given for the increase in coauthorship over time (Laband and Tollison 2000; McDowell and Michael 1983). Funding requirements, particularly in large lab settings, might induce collaboration (Laband and Tollison 2000; Zuckerman and Merton 1973). While social scientists are rarely as dependent on labs, the rise of large-scale data collection efforts suggests a similar team-production model. Training differences between disciplines might also account for coauthorship differences. Advanced work by PhD students in the natural sciences is usually closely related to an advisor’s work, and commonly results in collaboration. Social science students, in contrast, tend to work on projects that are more independent.” (Moody 2004 (American Sociological Review; volume 69: 217)

In the Canadian context…
“…a number of SSH disciplines have more paradigms competing with one another than do those in the NSE, and as a result SSH literature is more fragmented – a situation that hinders the formation of a solid “core” of scientific journals –, thereby making article-based bibliometric analysis more difficult to conduct successfully.” (Larivière etal 2006; Scientometrics (60;3): 521).

“…According to MOODY (2004), the collaboration rate for books is generally lower than that for articles. Therefore scholarly articles are a more informative medium for analysing collaboration not only in the natural sciences but also in the social sciences and humanities, although we must be careful not to generalize the results to all scholarly research output.” (Larivière etal 2006; Scientometrics (60;3): 521).

“The collaborative activities of Canadian scholars, as measured by the number of joint publications, are increasing in both the NSE and the SSH. There is also an upward trend in international collaboration. However, the rate of growth is not the same across all disciplines. While rates for all types of collaboration in the social sciences rose steadily since 1980, collaboration rates for the humanities remained unchanged in a number of cases. Overall, psychology and economics and administration were the disciplines with the strongest collaboration, followed by social sciences, education, and law. In the humanities, history was the discipline in which collaborative activities were most frequent, but the rate remains very low. In the humanities and literature, formal collaboration based on co-authorship is a marginal phenomenon. Not surprisingly, the disciplines with the highest collaboration rates are, in general, the ones in which journal articles are the main medium of knowledge dissemination.” (Larivière etal 2006; Scientometrics (60;3): 531).

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