Scientific excellence is just one of the many paths…

Recently the LSE Impact blog posted and entry by Richard Woolley and I where we comment on the dangers of trying to link scientific excellence and societal impact. Assessing the societal impact of research is now the big challenge in research evaluation. Until recently, evaluative and policy efforts were placed on promoting the so-called ‘excellent research’, following the logic that it is the best research the one that can lead to social change and respond to current societal challenges. But the UK 2014 REF has been a game-changer by introducing a complex peer review system by which committees assess the impact of submitted case studies in which researchers explain how their research has contributed to society (in which ever terms they find suitable).

The result is a complex system in which quantitative indicators are relegated leaving mixed feelings as to the process followed and its success. Still, it is a worthy initiative and the first attempt to assess the societal impact of research at a national scale. In our post entry, we part from the premise that the assessment made by the committees is acceptable and explore the relationship between the scores received by each submission unit for their scientific output and societal impact. What we find is that such relationship between scientific excellence or quality and societal impact is not always correlated, suggesting that there are many ways of having and impact in society without doing excellent research and the contrary, doing good research does not neccessarily always leads to having a societal impact.


International collaboration: It is not only a matter of…

Collaboration through co-authorship is a long studied field of work in scientometrics. The notion of international collaboration has been widely acknowledged through bibliometric data as a positive factor to improve the citation impact and visibility of publications. What is more, the share of international collaboration is an indicator of success used in many evaluation exercises at the individual level (e.g., Ramón y Cajal in Spain) and it is included in the set of indicators pre-calculated in many bibliometric suites such as Clarivate’s InCites.

At the country level, international collaboration can be seen as a way of bridging with other countries or belonging to the global community. However, little is known on the mechanisms that lead to this or the type of collaboration needed to do so. With regard to developing research systems, international collaboration can serve as a means to increase investment and capacity building1,2. Still, is international collaboration good no matter with whom or how many. Can we observe differences in terms of fields or type of development depending on the partners countries collaborate with?

My colleagues and I have recently got accepted a paper3 at the Globelics Conference 2017 in which we explore types of international collaborating partners for selected countries in South-East Asia. We part from the concepts of multilateral and bilateral collaboration developed by Glänzel and de Lange4,5 to analyze the international collaboration trend of six leading science systems among the ASEAN group of countries (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia). While the analysis is yet very preliminary, we do observe differences on the major partners and fields of these countries depending on the type of multi or bilateral collaboration they have with the country. We also find different temporal trends on the evolution of international collaboration between these six countries, suggesting different developing stages of their national system. We hope to explore and expand these analyses in the future.


Wagner CS, Leydesdorff L. Network structure, self-organization, and the growth of international collaboration in science. Research Policy. 2005;34(10):1608-1618. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2005.08.002
Wagner CS, Park HW, Leydesdorff L. The Continuing Growth of Global Cooperation Networks in Research: A Conundrum for National Governments. Glanzel W, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(7):e0131816. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131816
Woolley R, Robinson-Garcia N, Costas R. Global research collaboration: Partners and networks in South-East Asia. In: Athens, Greece; 2017.
Glänzel W, De Lange C. Modelling and measuring multilateral co-authorship in international scientific collaboration. Part II. A comparative study on the extent and change of international scientific collaboration links. Scientometrics. 1997;40(3):605-626. doi: 10.1007/bf02459304
De Lange C, Glänzel W. Modelling and measuring multilateral co-authorship in international scientific collaboration. Part I. Development of a new model using a series expansion approach. Scientometrics. 1997;40(3):593-604. doi: 10.1007/bf02459303

esss 2017: European Summer School for Scientometrics

Berlin, Germany
September 17 – 22, 2017


Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce that this year’s registration for the European
Summer School for Scientometrics (esss) is open NOW. The event will take place in Berlin, Germany from September 17 – 22, 2017.

Like in previous years the programme offers an Introduction to Bibliometrics, lectures, tutorials and practical exercises. “Identification of Research Focuses. National & Institutional Profiles and Strategic Partnerships “ will be this year`s focus.

For further information regarding the programme, please visit our website:


For registration please use the following link:


The regular participation fee is 900 EUR, reduced fee for students is 650 EUR.
This includes all courses, all lunch and coffee breaks and all course material. It excludes travel, accommodation and social events. In order to benefit from the reduced student fee it is necessary to confirm your student status by sending an appropriate record (scan) to congress@univie.ac.at.

Please note that there is NO application procedure and that the limited seats will be sold on a “first come, first serve” basis.

If you have any further questions or are in need of invitation letters, please do not hesitate to contact our esss office (mailto: office@ scientometrics-school.eu).

We are looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!