European and US Research Collaboration and Mobility Patterns: Science Europe and Elsevier Release Comprehensive Study

Brussels, September 12, 2013

Science Europe and Elsevier today released a new report that for the first time provides a comprehensive view of the European and US research mobility and collaboration landscapes: 'Comparative Benchmarking of European and US Research Collaboration and Researcher Mobility'.

Other studies have shown that research nations benefit from collaborative research, in particular international collaborations, as they typically result in higher citation impacts, a quality measure of research articles. The report, based on Scopus data, shows that both Europe and the US have experienced steady growth in their overall collaboration rates since 2003. Inter-country collaboration in Europe also showed an increase, from slightly over 11% in 2003 to 13% of articles in 2011, contrasting with the recently-decreasing levels seen in analogous inter-state collaboration in the US, at 16% of articles in 2011.  Since the percentage for Europe has steadily been rising since 2003, it seems that the national and European mechanisms to encourage cross-country collaboration in Europe are working, although with considerable variation by discipline.

The study found that US researchers are more likely to collaborate with their peers outside the US than European researchers are likely to collaborate with their colleagues outside Europe, although in fact the additional benefit of collaborating outside the region is proportionally greater for European researchers than for US researchers.

While the collaboration patterns between European countries are broadly similar to those between US states, it is clear that institutional migration of researchers between different countries within Europe is considerably less frequent than migration between states in the US. The attitude among funding agencies to allowing their grants to move across borders may be part of the explanation for this, but factors that are more likely to be influential would include differences in culture, language, administrative systems, benefits, pensions and other support systems, which continue to vary considerably across Europe. In contrast to this, there is greater comparability of employment law and compensation packages between states in the US.

"Mobility and collaboration are key mechanisms to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of research", said Nick Fowler, Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutions for Elsevier. "The collaboration between Elsevier and Science Europe has generated many new insights about mobility and collaboration trends of European and American researchers. As such, the report provides a helpful basis to further improve the quality of research outcomes."

"These findings allow us to understanding the current status of collaboration and mobility of the research communities, and will serve as basis to drive effective policy," said Professor Paul Boyle, President of Science Europe. "The report provides new benchmarks which will be invaluable to reference in the future to assess the impact of research policies within the European Research Area."

A complete copy of 'Comparative Benchmarking of European and U.S. Research Collaboration and Researcher Mobility' can be downloaded at:

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About Science Europe
Science Europe is an association of 53 Research Funding Organisations and Research Performing Organisations from 27 countries, representing around €30 billion per annum. It was founded in October 2011 with the aim of promoting the collective interests of members and providing them with a platform to collaborate at both policy and activity level.

Through its six Scientific Committees, Science Europe is informed by direct representation of all research communities in its reflections on polices, priorities and strategies. It works and partners with other entities such as universities, academies, scientific intergovernmental organisations and the European Institutions to develop a coherent and inclusive European Research Area.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

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