An evolving international research collaboration network: spatial and thematic developments in co-authored higher education research, 1998–2018

Yuan Chih Fu, Marcelo Marques, Yuen Hsien Tseng*, Justin J.W. Powell, David P. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Co-authored research articles in the disciplinarily heterogeneous field of higher education have dramatically increased in this century. As in other fields, rising international co-authorships reflect evolving international collaboration networks. We examine higher education research over two decades, applying automated bibliometric topic identification and social network analysis of 9067 papers in 13 core higher education journals (1998–2018). Remarkable expansion in the volume of papers and co-authorships has, surprisingly, not resulted in a more diverse network. Rather, existing co-authorship patterns are strengthened, with the dominance of scholars from a few Anglophone countries largely maintained. Researchers globally seek to co-author with leading scholars in these countries, especially the US, UK, and Australia—at least when publishing in the leading general higher education journals based there. Further, the two-mode social network analysis of countries and topics suggests that while Anglophone countries have led the development of higher education research, China and Germany, as leading research-producing countries, are increasingly influential within this world-spanning network. Topically, the vast majority of co-authored papers in higher education research focuses on individual-level phenomena, with organizational and system or country-level analysis constituting (much) smaller proportions, despite policymakers’ emphasis on cross-national comparisons and the growing importance of university actorhood. We discuss implications thereof for the future of the multidisciplinary field of higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1429
Number of pages27
JournalScientometrics
Volume127
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Keywords

  • Bibliometrics
  • Content analysis
  • Higher education research
  • International collaboration networks
  • Social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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