Geographical trends in research: a preliminary analysis on authors' affiliations

Mannocci, Andrea; Osborne, Francesco and Motta, Enrico (2018). Geographical trends in research: a preliminary analysis on authors' affiliations. In: SAVE-SD - International Workshop on Semantic, Analytics, Visualisation Revised Selected Papers (González-Beltrán, Alejandra; Osborne, Francesco; Peroni, Silvio and Vahdati, Sahar eds.), Springer, Cham(10959) pp. 61–77.



In the last decade, research literature reached an enormous volume with an unprecedented current annual increase of 1.5 million new publications. As research gets ever more global and new countries and institutions, either from academia or corporate environment, start to contribute with their share, it is important to monitor this complex scenario and understand its dynamics.

We present a study on a conference proceedings dataset extracted from Springer Nature Scigraph that illustrates insightful geographical trends and highlights the unbalanced growth of competitive research institutions worldwide. Results emerged from our micro and macro analysis show that the distributions among countries of institutions and papers follow a power law, and thus very few countries keep producing most of the papers accepted by high-tier conferences. In addition, we found that the annual and overall turnover rate of the top 5, 10 and 25 countries is extremely low, suggesting a very static landscape in which new entries struggle to emerge. Finally, we highlight the presence of an increasing gap between the number of institutions initiating and overseeing research endeavours (i.e. first and last authors' affiliations) and the total number of institutions participating in research. As a consequence of our analysis, the paper also discusses our experience in working with affiliations: an utterly simple matter at first glance, that is instead revealed to be a complex research and technical challenge yet far from being solved.

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