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Chinese international collaboration research output more than quadrupled between 2006 and 2015

A report called 'China’s International Scientific Research Collaboration Landscape', jointly produced by the Chinese National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation (NCSTE[1]) and Clarivate Analytics found a massive increase in the number of academic research papers produced through China’s international research collaboration between 2006 and 2015. The number increased by 4.4 times from 16,000 in 2006 to 71,000 in 2015.

During the period of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” (2011-2015), China’s international research collaboration partners have grown to span 188 countries and regions around the world, enabling the country to assimilate into the global scientific community. 

From the graph below, it is evident that the output from China grew at a faster pace than the other top-ranked nations during this period, surpassing all countries, including Germany, France and Japan. In 2015, China’s output was catching up with the UK, which remained slightly higher, while the US continued to maintain its strong lead.

Source: Web of Science™ by Clarivate Analytics

Expenditure on research and development (R&D) accounted for 1.42 percent of GDP in 2006 and it had increased to 2.1 percent in 2016. It is not just a case of increasingly high volume and scale of international scientific research collaboration papers. The citation impact of China’s collaborative research papers has increased significantly over the past decade. China’s researchers are more often taking a leading role with international collaboration.

The citation impact of various Chinese co-authored papers with international partners is higher than the country’s average citation impact over the last decade, reflecting the benefits for China from international research collaboration.

CNCI of the top 10 international academic research collaboration countries by research paper output from 2006 until 2015 (The Category Normalized Citation Impact (CNCI) was used to reflect the citation impact of a certain country. The CNCI of a document is calculated by dividing the actual count of citing items by the expected citation rate for documents with the same document type, year of publication and subject area. The CNCI of a set of documents, such as the collected works of an individual, institution or country, is the average of the CNCI values for all the documents in the set comprised of publication and subject areas.)/ Source: Web of Science™ by Clarivate Analytics

This indicates China’s rising importance in the international scientific collaboration network. China is continuing to deepen its collaboration and relationships with partnering countries, while developing domestic technology districts and working on its recently announced “One Belt One Road” economic initiative.

The *Essential Science Indicators® (ESI) fields were used to represent the respective areas of research. ESI uses 22 broad disciplines to rank entities and identify top-performing papers. (The above numbers are based on journal article publication counts and citation data from Web of Science™ by Clarivate Analytics, the Essential Science IndicatorsSM reveals emerging science trends as well as influential individuals, institutions, papers, journals, and countries in a particular field of research.)

The five most popular fields for collaboration were Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Clinical medicine and Materials Science, as can be seen from the chart above.

The report is based on the publication and citation data of global scientific research collaboration papers from the Web of Science, an online subscription-based scientific citation indexing service, powered by Clarivate Analytics. In addition to bibliometrics, the report uses viewpoints and commentaries of researchers and research management professionals in China.

[1] NCSTE is a specialised agency affiliated to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), People’s Republic of China. It was set up to meet the demands of Science & Technology development.

Featured image for representation purposes only.

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