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Regular version of the site

Article

With whom do researchers collaborate and why?

Scientometrics. 2017. Vol. 112. No. 1. P. 153-174.
Iglič H., Doreian P., Kronegger L., Ferligoj A.

Although research collaboration has been studied extensively, we still lack understanding regarding the factors stimulating researchers to collaborate with different kinds of research partners including members of the same research center or group, researchers from the same organization, researchers from other academic and non-academic organizations as well as international partners. Here, we provide an explanation of the emergence of diverse collaborative ties. The theoretical framework used for understanding research collaboration couples scientific and technical human capital embodied in the individual with the social organization and cognitive characteristics of the research field. We analyze survey data collected from Slovenian scientists in four scientific disciplines: mathematics; physics; biotechnology; and sociology. The results show that while individual characteristics and resources are among the strongest predictors of collaboration, very different mechanisms underlie collaboration with different kinds of partners. International collaboration is particularly important for the researchers in small national science systems. Collaboration with colleagues from various domestic organizations presents a vehicle for resource mobilization. Within organizations collaboration reflects the elaborated division of labor in the laboratories and high level of competition between different research groups. These results hold practical implications for policymakers interested in promoting quality research.