Research collaboration in groups and networks: differences across academic fields
Research collaboration in groups and networks: differences across academic fields
Svein Kyvik 0 1
Ingvild Reymert 0 1
0 NIFU (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education) , Oslo , Norway
1 & Ingvild Reymert
The purpose of this paper is to give a macro-picture of collaboration in research groups and networks across all academic fields in Norwegian research universities, and to examine the relative importance of membership in groups and networks for individual publication output. To our knowledge, this is a new approach, which may provide valuable information on collaborative patterns in a particular national system, but of clear relevance to other national university systems. At the system level, conducting research in groups and networks are equally important, but there are large differences between academic fields. The research group is clearly most important in the field of medicine and health, while undertaking research in an international network is most important in the natural sciences. Membership in a research group and active participation in international networks are likely to enhance publication productivity and the quality of research.
Research groups; Research collaboration research universities; Publication output; Academic fields; Norwegian
Broadly speaking, most research is undertaken as a collaborative effort in groups and
networks of scientists. The rationale is that two or more people can do better work than if
they work independently of each other. Collaboration in research can take different forms,
from giving advice to colleagues to working closely together. Collaboration can be
undertaken between colleagues in a university department, between a staff member and
peers in other departments, in other universities and research institutes, in industry, and in
research establishments in other countries. Collaboration can take place between two
individual researchers or between many scientists as members of large teams.
Collaboration can be a hierarchical relationship, like the one between a professor and a
doctoral student, or a mutual relationship between two or more colleagues of equal status.
And collaboration can take place voluntarily between colleagues who share the same
interests and go well together, or be more or less forced upon researchers, like in
largescale programmes initiated by research councils where funding is dependent on the
willingness to join forces with other scientists, often in other disciplines. Collaboration with
other scientists can be stimulating and enriching, but also problematic and conflict-ridden.
Tensions and conflicts can relate to choice of research methodology, interpretation of data,
and writing style, not to mention how each individual contribution should be credited.
Collaboration in groups has long traditions in the experimental sciences, and has been
called the engine of productivity in research and of effective graduate training
, while collaboration in research networks is a parallel and complementary, and to
some extent a competing organisation principle to the research group in the university
department or in an industrial laboratory. Commonly, research networks differ from
research groups due to their greater flexibility and less bureaucracy
(Leite and Pinho 2017)
Collaboration in groups and networks has become increasingly common, as witnessed by
the growth in co-authorship of scientific papers
(Leydesdorff and Wagner 2008)
reasons are multiple; the need for a critical mass of people with complementary skills and
(Ziman 1987; Heinze et al. 2009)
, the growing ease of travel and the introduction
of the internet (Katz and Martin 1997), the need for more interdisciplinary research
and Bozeman 2005)
, political initiatives for more research co-operation and cost-sharing
(Katz and Martin 1997)
, the self-interest of researchers to link together in search of
rewards, reputation, and resources
(Wagner and Leydesdorff 2005)
or to further an
(Rijnsoever et al. 2008)
, and various non-scientific individual motivations
like the opportunity to travel and maintain friendships
Academic studies of research groups abound, but are most often confined to the STEM
fields. The first extensive investigation of research groups was undertaken in the 1970s
. Communication and collaboration between team members, the role of the
leader, research experience, and group size were identified as important factors to explain
variation in group productivity. These factors have been examined in a large number of
follow-up studies: Size and productivity
(Cohen 1991; Seglen and Aksnes 2000; Guimera`
et al. 2005; Heinze et al. 2009; Wheelan 2009; Kenna and Berche 2011; Maaike et al.
, cooperation within groups (Andrade et al. 2009), the role of the leader
Gupta 1989; Hemlin 2006; Pudovkin et al. 2012; Maaike et al. 2015)
, and the groups’
importance for PhD-students (Meschitti and Carassa 2014). A review of the literature on
research groups indicates that belonging to an established research group leads to higher
(e.g. Martin-Sempere et al. 2002)
, while not belonging to a
consolidated research team represents a handicap in terms of publishing in top international
(Rey-Rocha et al. 2002)
. Furthermore, there is evidence that group leaders have
more publications and are more often cited than the average group member (Lazega et al.
There are also an increasing number of studies on scientific collaboration networks
e.g. Lazega et al. 2008)
, many of which take social network theory as a starting point. The
different ‘actors’ are connected to each other through ‘ties’ of different kinds which can be
strong or weak, hierarchical or equal, geographically close or distant, etc. (Scott 2000).
social networks are gradually replacing hierarchical forms of
organization in their specific realms of activity. Research collaboration in networks is no
exception to this general trend and has become much more important over time with the
strongly improved conditions for physical and virtual communication
. Likewise, Adams (2012, 335) has stated that ‘‘a fundamental shift is taking
place in the geography of science. Networks of research collaboration are expanding in
every region of the globe’’. A review of the relevant literature indicates that research
collaboration in international networks enhances the productivity of individual scientists
(Kyvik and Larsen 1994; Van Raan 1998; Martin-Sempere et al. 2002; Barjak and
Robinson 2007; Abramo et al. 2011)
and the quality of research
The research done in groups and networks is often closely related. Groups to an
increasing degree collaborate across institutional and national borders. According to
Adams (2013, 557) research has progressed through three ages: the individual, the
institutional and the national, and is now entering a fourth age driven by international
collaborations between elite research groups. Furthermore, group members can be connected
to various networks. A partial reason is that groups are not stable over time; members
(particularly graduate students and postdocs) move on to other groups to further their
careers and obtain tenure, while keeping in touch and continue collaborating with their
former supervisors and colleagues
(Jacob and Meek 2013)
. Hence, groups constituted by
individuals with disparate sets of collaborators are more likely to draw from a more diverse
reservoir of knowledge
(Guimera` et al. 2005)
While many studies have examined collaboration in groups and networks separately, we
are not aware of any study that has aimed to investigate the relative importance of groups
and networks for individual researchers. What does membership in a research group
actually imply for the research undertaken by individual members? To what extent do
members undertake most of their research within the frame of the group in the department
versus in networks? To what extent does collaboration in groups and networks enhance
productivity and quality of research? Are there differences between academic fields in
these respects? In order to explore these issues, the four major Norwegian research
universities are used as a case.
Although the notions of research groups and research networks should be intuitively
clear, in practice it is often difficult to distinguish and operationalize groups and networks
for measurement purposes. The standard methodology is to use bibliometric databases to
identify co-authorship patterns within and across institutions based on author addresses, but
it is a challenge to distinguish between members of the core group and external participants
in a network relationship. Hence, several studies on scientific networks do not distinguish
between collaboration in groups and networks
(e.g. Newman 2001)
. In this respect, this
paper differs from prior studies because it is based on information from academic staff
themselves on the extent to which they conduct their research within a formal group or
within a network. In this study, groups are institutionally based while networks cross
Formal research groups have now been introduced in all fields as subunits within
Vabø et al. 2016
). In medicine and health, technology and the natural
sciences, this policy for the most part has been a formalization of already existing groups,
while in the humanities and the social sciences this development represents something
new. An important reason is the creation of larger departments through mergers and a
general growth in the number of academic staff, and the subsequent need for organizing
research and teaching within the frames of smaller subunits. The purposes of the
formalization of these groups are to enhance research collaboration, strengthen research
leadership, create good scientific and social environments of academic staff and doctoral
students, contribute to the implementation of research strategies, and establish an
organizational platform to increase external research funding. This has also been part of a trend
where research and education increasingly have been organized across academic fields
(Michelsen and Vabø 2014; Vabø et al. 2016)
While it should be clear to all respondents whether they are members of a formal group,
information on collaboration in formal and informal research networks is based on the
actors’ individual interpretations of what constitutes a network and the strength of their
participation, and not on bibliometric data on co-authorship.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a macro-picture of collaboration in research
groups and networks across all academic fields in these universities. Another purpose is to
examine the relative effect of conducting research within groups versus in networks for
scientific and scholarly publishing. To our knowledge, this is a new approach, which may
provide valuable information on collaborative patterns in a particular national system, but
of clear relevance to other national university systems.
Data and methods
Data are drawn from a survey in 2013 to professors and associate professors in permanent
positions at the four major traditional research universities in Norway; the University of
Bergen, the University of Oslo, the University of Tromsø, and the Norwegian University of
Science and Technology. These four institutions are much more research oriented than the
other newer universities
(Reymert et al. 2015)
. The number of responses included in this
sample is 1481, and the response rate is 50.2%. The sample of researchers who responded
to the survey is representative in respect of gender, age, and academic field
. This unique survey enables the investigation of the extent to which
membership of a research group implies that the members conduct their research within the
group, the extent to which they collaborate within networks of research colleagues, or work
In the survey, we asked the respondents to which degree they use different ways of
conducting research: (a) alone, (b) with colleagues in the department not affiliated to a
formal research group, (c) in a formal research group in the university, (d) in a national
research centre, (e) in an interdisciplinary centre, (f) in a national network, or (g) in an
international network. For each of these categories the respondents were given three
alternatives: ‘‘to a large degree’’, ‘‘to some degree’’ or ‘‘to a minor degree/not at all’’.
These different alternatives are, however, not mutually exclusive. Seven out of ten of
the respondents reported one single way of doing research ‘‘to a large degree’’, while more
than 20% reported two alternatives ‘‘to a large degree’’, and the rest different combinations
of three or more options. The various responses produced a vast number of combinations,
and we have undertaken several adjustments to be able to group the researchers into
Firstly, those who answered ‘‘in a national research centre’’, or ‘‘in an interdisciplinary
research centre’’ were classified as conducting research ‘‘in a formal research group’’.
Secondly, we excluded the category ‘collaborating in a national network’, since only 17
persons responded that they undertake research ‘‘to a large degree’’ only in this way. Those
who work alone ‘‘to a large degree’’ and collaborate in various ways ‘‘to a large degree’’,
were included in the respective categories of researchers collaborating with other people,
leaving the group doing research ‘‘alone’’ as a pure group of solitary researchers.
Researchers who reported to collaborate ‘‘to a large degree’’ informally with colleagues in
the institution and also in a formal research group were included in the category ‘‘formal
research group’’. Finally, those who responded that they in addition to doing research ‘‘to a
large degree’’ in international networks also undertake research ‘‘to large degree’’ in other
ways were classified as international collaborators. These adaptions were done because we
are particularly interested in the effects of groups and networks on performance in
The analysis of the publication output of academic staff is based on a bibliographic
database that has been developed in Norway as a common and complete documentation
system for all scientific and scholarly publications (Cristin). This database has complete
coverage of all peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly publications, including journal
articles, monographs, book chapters and conference series in all fields of research
. Different publications give different publication points at two different
levels (see Table 1). Level 1 is the ordinary scientific publication channel, while Level 2 is
confined to prestigious journals and publishers (Table 2).
At the time this study was conducted, if there were more than one author of a
publication, the publication points were shared between the authors. Hence, the amount of
publication points was affected by the number of co-authors. Because it is much more
common to be many co-authors of a paper in medicine than in the humanities;
subsequently humanists tend to have more publication points than academics in medicine, even
though medical scientists have more papers on their publication lists. One should therefore
be careful to compare publication points across academic fields.
In the bivariate analyses, we use the total number of publication points in the 3-year
period 2011–2013 as an indicator of research productivity, and the percentage of staff
having publications at Level 2 in this period as an indicator of research quality.
The distributions of publication points and percentage of publications at Level 2 are
very skew. 10% of the permanent academic staff do not have publication points, and 43%
do not have publications at Level 2. On average, the academic staff have 3.0 publication
points and 27% of their publications at Level 2 (see Table 3).
To investigate the relative importance of being member of a research group on the way
the researchers report to conduct their research, we have undertaken a logistic regression
with dichotomous variables of ways of conducting research ‘to a large degree’ as
dependent variables; alone, in a formal research group, in an international network, and in
an international network in combination with informal or formal collaboration in the
department.1 We use the humanities as reference category since this field differs most from
the average, and because there are many researchers in this group which gives the greatest
number of researchers in the references category. Age, gender, group membership, rank,
and academic field are independent variables.
1 We do not show the same analysis for informal collaboration, since only six percent of the respondents
answered ‘‘to a large degree’’ on this alternative.
The age of academic staff is included because two prior surveys among Norwegian
university staff found that older academics were less involved in international collaborative
research than their younger peers
(Kyvik and Olsen 2008)
. Likewise, gender is included as
an independent variable because these surveys revealed that women to a lower extent than
their male counterparts were part of international research collaborations (
. Academic rank is another variable that has shown to have explanatory power
in analyses of international research collaboration; the higher the rank, the more academics
work together across national borders
(Kyvik and Larsen 1994)
. Group membership is
included because several studies have shown that group leaders commonly have more
publications and citations than the average researcher. Finally, academic field has proved
to be an important variable in explaining individual differences in international
(Kyvik and Larsen 1994)
We have also undertaken regression analyses with the number of publication points and
the percentage of publications at Level 2 as dependent variables. Since both these
dependent variables are skewed, an OLS-regression without adjustments would be
inappropriate. Hence, we have made three separate models; two logistic regressions for those
who have and have not publication points, and have and have not publications at Level 2;
and one model where we exclude the researchers who do not have publication points. We
use the logarithm of the number of publication points as a dependent variable. This
adjustment makes the dependent variables much more like a normal distribution, and an
OLS-regression is an appropriate model to use. The interpretation of the coefficients would
then be as changes in percentages and not in log-units as for the two other logistic models
As independent variables, we have included gender, age, academic rank, group
membership (non-member, ordinary member, group leader), academic field, and the various
ways of undertaking research ‘to a large degree’. The independent variables are
operationalized in Table 3.
At the four major Norwegian research universities, eight out of ten of the permanent
academic staff are members of a formal research group. The rate of membership varies
between academic fields, with the highest percentages in medicine and natural sciences,
and the lowest in the humanities where only six out of ten are members.
However, among the group members, only 26% conduct their research ‘‘to a large
degree’’ in a formal research group, while 12% conduct their research ‘‘to a large degree’’
in an international network and 18% in an international research network in combination
with informal or formal collaboration in the university (Table 3). Two out of ten report that
they conduct their research to a large degree alone. Hence, being a member of a formal
research group does not necessarily imply that most of their research is conducted within
Among those who are group members, the relative importance of the research group
differs much across fields (Table 4). Particularly in the humanities a large proportion of the
staff conduct most of their research alone. In the humanities, only 10% of the group
members conduct their research ‘‘to a large degree’’ in the group while 45% undertake their
research ‘‘to a large degree’’ alone. In contrast, 42% of the members in medicine and health
conduct their research ‘‘to a large degree’’ in a formal group, and only 7% conduct their
research alone. We find the same difference between the two academic fields in how they
are involved in international networks. While only 8% of the humanists conduct their
2 In an log-linear model where log Yi = a ? bXi ? ei, the increase of an independent variable on the
dependent variable is Y = (ex) - 1.
research in an international network in combination with a group, 19% of the researchers in
medicine and health do that.
The research group is clearly most important in the field of medicine and health, while
undertaking research in an international research network, as the only way of conducting
research or in combination with formal or informal collaboration in the institution, is most
important in the natural sciences. The results indicate that the traditional field differences
persist, even though formal research groups are introduced in all academic fields.
An important question is whether those who are not members of a formal research group
differ from the group-members in ways of undertaking research. Are research networks an
important alternative to group membership for these academic staff members? Among the
non-members, the majority undertake their research alone (38%), while a lower share
engage in an international research network (22%).
Researchers above 60 years of age undertake research in international networks to a
lesser extent than their younger colleagues. There are generally very small gender
differences in the ways of undertaking research. The differences between associate professors
and professors are however greater. Figure 1 displays that professors report to a much
higher degree than associate professors that they conduct their research in formal groups
and in international networks, while associate professors more often research alone.
So far we have undertaken bivariate analyses. However, logistic regression can control
for different variables at the same time. Hence, we do four different logistic regressions
using each of the four different ways of conducting research ‘‘to a large degree’’ as
dependent variables, controlling for gender, age, academic rank, type of group
membership, and academic field (Table 5).
Doing the regressions subsequently, introducing more and more variables into the
model, a first striking result is how much of the variation the model explains increases
when academic fields are introduced. This confirms our findings from the bivariate
analyses that the importance and use of research groups differ much between the academic
Table 5 shows that being a man has a significant effect on the probability to work alone.
However, gender has no other significant effect. Furthermore, the younger the staff, the
None of the ways
Informal/formal research group
and an interna onal network
Interna onal network
Formal research group
Informal collabora on
more they are involved in international research networks. Finally, being a professor
increases the probability to work in an international network, and decreases the probability
to work alone.
Although being a member of a research group does not necessarily mean that academic
staff conduct their research to a great extent within the group, being a member increases
the likelihood to do so. Being a member of a group also increases the probability to work in
an international network in combination with a group, and decreases the probability to
Academic field is introduced into the model with the humanities as reference category.
The probability to work alone is less for all other academic fields, and the probability to
work in a formal research group is higher for all other fields. The probability to work in an
international group in combination with a group is also higher for the social sciences, the
natural sciences and medicine. These results are in line with the bivariate analyses.
Hence, rank, academic field, and whether or not academic staff are members of a
research group seem to be the important factors which affect the way the academic staff
conduct their research.
Research collaboration and publication productivity
One of the purposes of the formalization of research groups is to increase the publishing
activity of academic staff. Table 6 displays that group members have more publication
points (3.1) than non-members (2.6). However, this difference is only significant between
researchers in the social sciences, probably due to the small size of the subgroups in the
The most productive group members are those who ‘‘to a large degree’’ undertake their
research in an international network in combination with formal or informal collaboration
with colleagues within the institution. This finding confirms previous studies that have
found that international collaboration increases the scientific performance of research
Gender (women = 0,
male = 1)
International network in
combination with a group
(Barjak and Robinson 2007; Martin-Sempere et al. 2002; Van Raan 1998)
productivity of individual researchers
(Kyvik and Larsen 1994; Abramo et al. 2011)
There are, however, clear differences across the fields. Humanists who work to ‘‘a large
degree’’ alone have significantly more publication points than their colleagues who work to
‘‘a large degree’’ in an international network. Members in the social sciences who work to
‘‘a large degree’’ in an international network have significantly more publication points
than social scientists who work ‘‘to a large degree’’ in a formal research group. Members in
the natural sciences who conduct their research in an international network, and researchers
in medicine who work in formal groups or international networks, have significantly more
publication points than their colleagues who work alone. There are no such significant
effects between researchers in technology, though this could be because of the small size of
the subgroups (reaching from 7 to 80).
The number of publication points also varies between other variables. Men have more
publication points than women. Professors are more productive than associate professors.
Younger researchers tend to have more publication points than older researchers, but the
difference is not significant.
As mentioned, 10% of the members do not have any publication points. Another way of
investigating the difference in productivity between members and non-members is hence to
see if the share of non-publishers is greater among the non-members. Only 7% of the
members are non-publishers, in contrast to 20% of the non-members. Furthermore, the
share of non-publishers is greatest among the researchers who work alone ‘‘to a great
extent’’ (20%), while only 1% of the researchers that work in an international network in
combination with a group ‘‘to a large extent’’ do not have publication points. The share of
non-publishers among the researchers working in a formal research group ‘‘to a large
extent’’ is 5%.
The share of non-publishers increases with age, from the group of researchers under
40 years of age where only 6% are non-publishers to the group of researchers over 60
where 15% are non-publishers. We find a similar difference between professors among
which only 7% do not have publication points while 15% of the associate professors are
non-publishers. There are no gender differences in the share of researchers that have and
have not publication points.
Research collaboration and publication quality
While the number of publication points is primarily an indicator of publication activity, the
percentage of publications in prestigious journals (Level 2 publications) can be regarded as
an indicator of the quality of publications (Table 7). Group members have a greater share
of their publications at Level 2 (29%) than non-members (23%). However, when 43% of
the researchers have no publication at Level 2 and 21% have 50%, the average share of
publication at Level 2 usually become a share of publication that few researchers have.
Having publications at Level 2 or not might be a better quantitative measure of the
Table 7 displays that while five out of ten of the non-members have publications at
Level 2, six out of ten of the group members have publications on this level. We find an
even greater difference between researchers who work in an international network ‘‘to a
large degree’’ in combination with a group (eight out of ten have publications at Level 2),
and those who primarily research alone ‘‘to a large degree’’ (four out of ten).
The share of researchers having publications at Level 2 varies between background
variables. While 52% of the females have publications at this level, 40% of the males have.
The youngest researchers are also the group where most researchers have publications at
Level 2. The greatest difference is between professors where 68% of the staff have
publications at Level 2, in contrast to only 42% of the associate professors.
Table 8 displays the results of the regression analyses with researchers without and with
publication points (model 1), publication points (the logarithm, model 2) and researchers
without and with publications at Level 2 (model 3) as dependent variables. In these models,
we control for membership in a research group, being a leader of a research group, gender,
rank, age, academic field, and how group members conduct their research.3 We use the
humanities as reference category for the same reason as in Table 4. We only include
working alone and in an international network in combination with a group since these
ways are the only two that have significant effects on the publication output in these
3 We have tested for interaction terms between age and rank, age and gender, gender and rank. None of
them had any significant effect.
Number of publication points as dependent variables
Standard errors in parentheses
* p \ 0.05; ** p \ 0.01; *** p \ 0.001
models, and including only these two types of conducting research contributes to enough
researchers in the reference category.
The results in model 1 indicate that being younger than 60 years of age, being a
professor instead of an associate professor, and being a researcher in the natural sciences or
medicine instead of in the humanities increases the probability of having publication
points. Being a man or a woman has no significant effect. Being a member of a group
instead of a non-member increases the probability to have publication points, and being a
leader of a group increases the probability of having publication points even more. Finally,
conducting research ‘‘to a large degree’’ in an international network in combination with a
group has the strongest effect on publication output.
Model 2 displays which factors have a significant effect on the number of publication
points, where we have excluded the researchers with no publications. This is an
OLSregression where the dependent variable is the logarithm of publication points. Being a
researcher in all fields but the humanities decreases the number of publications. This
reflects the bias of the publication points, where researchers in the humanities have more
publication points due to fewer co-authors. Also, being a researcher under 50 years of age
instead of over 60 increases the number of publication points, and so does being a professor
instead of an associate professor.
In model 3, being a leader of a research group, being younger than 40 years of age,
being a professor, researcher in the natural sciences or medicine, and doing research in an
international network increase the possibility of having publication points at Level 2.
However, although collaboration in international networks has a significant effect, the age
effect and the rank effect have stronger impact on the probability of having publications at
While previous studies have examined separately the roles and effects of groups and
networks in the scientific system and the research production, the purpose of this study has
been to investigate the relative importance of research groups and research networks for
The results of this study can be summarized as follows: At the system level, conducting
research in groups in the university department and in international networks are equally
common, but there are large differences between academic fields. Research groups are still
more common and play a more important role in the experimental sciences than in the
social sciences and above all in the humanities. The research group is clearly most
important in the field of medicine and health, while undertaking research in an
international network is most important in the natural sciences. However, being a member of a
formal research group in the university department does not necessarily imply that the bulk
of the research is done within the frame of the group; for many the participation in
networks; and particularly international networks; is considered as more important.
For most academic staff, undertaking research in an international network cannot be
regarded as an alternative to collaboration in the group, but as a complementary research
strategy. The majority conduct their research in various ways, but with more emphasis on
one way of working than another. This finding is in line with studies by
Jacob and Meeks
, which show how researchers move to new institutions to collaborate with new
colleagues, while continuing the collaboration with their previous group members.
Furthermore, we find that older academic staff are less inclined than their younger
colleagues to collaborate in international research networks, and that they tend to work
more alone. The tendency to less international collaboration is consistent with the tendency
in two previous surveys (1992 and 2001) in Norwegian research universities. International
research collaboration has increased over time, and more so among young than old
(Kyvik and Olsen 2008)
. The most likely explanation is that younger academic
staff are more cosmopolitan in their research orientation due to generational differences in
socio-cultural influences and socialization processes at different points in time.
Membership in a research group and active participation in international research
networks are likely to enhance publication productivity and the quality of publications.
However, the effects as measured in this study are not very strong. Nevertheless, these
results corroborate previous findings by
Abramo et al. (2009)
on the relationship between
research collaboration and productivity, and by
Andrade et al. (2009)
on the relationship
between collaboration in international networks and research quality. Similar to
et al. (2008)
, we also find that group leaders appear to more productive than ordinary group
members, particularly when they collaborate in international networks.
The explanatory power of our regression models is relatively low. This outcome is
common in social science research, but still deserves a comment. Individual research
collaborations depend on a diverse set of environmental conditions, and the research
agenda can to a large extent be determined by disciplinary norms and traditions, the
strategy of the research group, institutional strategies, and the priorities of funding
agencies. Hence, there are many factors that affect the intensity of research collaboration in
groups and networks. Likewise, individual differences in publishing productivity and the
quality of the research output is dependent on a large number of factors in addition to those
applied in this study.
This study is based on data from the major Norwegian research universities and has
provided new information on collaborative patterns in a particular national system. As a
small country in the global research community
(Gornitzka and Langfeldt 2008)
, we might
speculate whether participation in international research networks might have a more
prominent role than in the larger countries due to the relatively limited number of national
colleagues within the same research specialty. However, research in most countries is now
increasingly undertaken in an international context of collaboration between groups and
. Hence, we believe that the results of this study are of clear
relevance to other national systems.
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