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Dominance and leadership in research activities: Collaboration between countries of differing human development is reflected through authorship order and designation as corresponding authors in scientific publications
IntroductionScientific collaboration is an important mechanism that enables the integration of the least developed countries into research activities. In the present study, we use the order of author signatures and addresses for correspondence in scientific publications as variables to analyze the interactions between countries of very high (VHHD), high (HHD), medium (MHD), and low human development (LHD).MethodologyWe identified all documents published between 2011 and 2015 in journals included in the Science Citation Index-Expanded categories’ of Tropical Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Parasitology, and Pediatrics. We then classified the countries participating in the publications according to their Human Development Index (HDI), analyzing the international collaboration; positioning and influence of some countries over others in cooperative networks; their leadership; and the impact of the work based on the HDI and the type of collaboration.ResultsWe observed a high degree of international collaboration in all the areas analyzed, in the case of both LHD and MHD countries. We identified numerous cooperative links between VHHD countries and MHD/LHD countries, reflecting the fact that cooperative links are an important mechanism for integrating research activities into the latter. The countries with large emerging economies, such as Brazil and China stand out due to the dominance they exert in the collaborations established with the United States, the UK, and other European countries. The analysis of the leadership role of the countries, measured by the frequency of lead authorships, shows limited participation by MHD/LHD countries. This reduced participation among less developed countries is further accentuated by their limited presence in the addresses for correspondence. We observed significant statistical differences in the degree of citation according to the HDI of the participating countries.ConclusionsThe order of signatures and the address for correspondence in scientific publications are bibliographic characteristics that facilitate a precise, in-depth analysis of cooperative practices and their associations with concepts like dominance or leadership. This is useful to monitor the existing balance in research participation in health research publications.
Bibliometrics; Social Network Analysis; Scientific collaboration; International collaboration