Research networks play pivotal roles in the creation and diffusion of knowledge. It is widely acknowledged that frontier research tends to cluster around transnational research networks (TRNs), which also represent strategic tools for nurturing innovation in R&D-intensive companies. Therefore, they are crucial for promoting the rapid development of the knowledge economy in underdeveloped countries. In this context, China's experience is particularly relevant because the country has invested heavily in knowledge production, which is arguably one of the most important structural changes at the global level in recent decades, with important implications for the division of labor and trade among countries. The country has been investing in order to become the scientific world leader, and in this transition, research collaboration, in particular with other countries, can become strategic. In this work, we analyze whether COVID-19 and related research have affected the shape of the network and the intensity of collaborations involving China in the field of health studies, comparing it to the case of the U.S. as the global leader in research (Fry et al., 2020). In particular, we wish to assess whether COVID-19-related research has pushed toward larger and more intensive collaborations internationally than before the pandemic or whether a tendency to closure has prevailed has prevailed. This also means understanding whether COVID-19, as a global phenomenon, has affected China in rising as an international research leader. To do so, we built an original dataset of international, coauthored publications involving China or the U.S. in selected health research fields. Our analysis first shows that COVID-19 research has assumed specific features distinct from other topics in the same research field, shaping research networks in a peculiar way for both China and the U.S. Second, for China, COVID-19 does not appear to have represented an opportunity to further climb up the international research ladder, as it has attracted a relatively low and more volatile number of collaborators from different countries.

Changing structures in transnational research networks: an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on China's scientific collaborations

Rubini L.
Primo
Conceptualization
;
Pollio C.
Secondo
;
2024

Abstract

Research networks play pivotal roles in the creation and diffusion of knowledge. It is widely acknowledged that frontier research tends to cluster around transnational research networks (TRNs), which also represent strategic tools for nurturing innovation in R&D-intensive companies. Therefore, they are crucial for promoting the rapid development of the knowledge economy in underdeveloped countries. In this context, China's experience is particularly relevant because the country has invested heavily in knowledge production, which is arguably one of the most important structural changes at the global level in recent decades, with important implications for the division of labor and trade among countries. The country has been investing in order to become the scientific world leader, and in this transition, research collaboration, in particular with other countries, can become strategic. In this work, we analyze whether COVID-19 and related research have affected the shape of the network and the intensity of collaborations involving China in the field of health studies, comparing it to the case of the U.S. as the global leader in research (Fry et al., 2020). In particular, we wish to assess whether COVID-19-related research has pushed toward larger and more intensive collaborations internationally than before the pandemic or whether a tendency to closure has prevailed has prevailed. This also means understanding whether COVID-19, as a global phenomenon, has affected China in rising as an international research leader. To do so, we built an original dataset of international, coauthored publications involving China or the U.S. in selected health research fields. Our analysis first shows that COVID-19 research has assumed specific features distinct from other topics in the same research field, shaping research networks in a peculiar way for both China and the U.S. Second, for China, COVID-19 does not appear to have represented an opportunity to further climb up the international research ladder, as it has attracted a relatively low and more volatile number of collaborators from different countries.
2024
Rubini, L.; Pollio, C.; Barbieri, E.; Cattaruzzo, S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2532191
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