Collaboration and distances between German immunological institutes – a trend analysis
Department of Library and Information Science, Humboldt University Berlin, Dorotheenstr. 26, D-10099 Berlin, Germany
Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration 2006, 1:6 doi:10.1186/1747-5333-1-6Published: 14 June 2006
The hypothesis that distance matters but that in recent years geographical proximity has become less important for research collaboration was tested. We have chosen a sample–authors at German immunological institutes–that is relatively homogeneous with regard to research field, language and culture, which beside distance are other possible factors influencing the willingness to co-operate. We analyse yearly distributions of co-authorship links between institutes and compare them with the yearly distributions of distances of all institutes producing papers in journals indexed in the Science Citation Index, editions 1992 till 2002. We weight both types of distributions properly with paper numbers.
One interesting result is that place matters but if a researcher has to leave the home town to find a collaborator distance does not matter any longer. This result holds for all years considered, but is statistically most significant in 2002. The tendency to leave the own town for collaborators has slightly increased in the sample. In addition, yearly productivity distributions of institutes have been found to be lognormal.
The Internet did not change much the collaboration patterns between German immunological institutes.