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Can the centre-periphery model explain patterns of international scientific collaboration among threshold and industrialised countries?

The case of South Africa and Germany
: Schubert, T.; Sooryamoorthy, R.


Scientometrics 83 (2010), No.1, pp.181-203
ISSN: 0138-9130
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
scientific collaboration; centre-periphery; south Africa; Germany; co-authorship

As scientific collaboration is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly important, studies on scientific collaboration are numerous. Despite the proliferation of studies on various dimensions of collaboration, there is still a dearth of analyses on the effects, motives and modes of collaboration in the context of developing countries. Adopting Wallerstein's world-system theory, this paper makes use of bibliometric data in an attempt to understand the pattern of collaboration that emerges between South Africa and Germany. The key argument is that we can expect the collaborative relationship between South Africa and Germany to be one that is shaped by a centre-periphery pattern. The analyses show that a theory of scientific collaboration building on the notion of marginality and centre-periphery can explain many facets of South African-German collaboration, where South Africa is a semi-peripheral region, a centre for the periphery, and a periphery for the centre.