Collaboration in Science Annual Report: New Data

Scientists don't work alone. Learn more about which countries collaborated the most on research papers in 2016.

Updated on April 13, 2017

collaboration in science around the world

As a follow-up to last year's analysis of collaboration among research authors in 2015, we went back to PubMed to see how researchers collaborated in 2016. Based on the affiliations of co-authors in biomedical fields, we found the following top ten pairs of collaborating countries:

  1. US and China (19,162 papers)
  2. US and the United Kingdom (14,396)
  3. US and Germany (10,536)
  4. US and Canada (9,999)
  5. Germany and the United Kingdom (9,730)
  6. United Kingdom and Australia (6,652) (new pair in 2016)
  7. United Kingdom and Italy (6,618)
  8. US and Australia (6,589)
  9. US and France (6,555)
  10. US and Italy (6,546)

View the Global Report. Appropriate collaboration maps are also available in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

If you're curious about some specific countries, we have also created maps detailing the top collaborations for a few nations of interest. Follow these links to find maps like the one below for China, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil (with corresponding translations in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese.)

research collaborations and link to China in 2016

What's changed this year?

Altogether, the top pairs of collaborating countries are fairly similar. The United Kingdom and Australia jumped onto the list as the only new addition. The United Kingdom and Italy moved up three spots to 7th place, while the pairing of the US and Italy fell four spots to 10th.

Similar to last year, the US and European countries collaborated more extensively compared to emerging research centers like China and India. Among our individual country reports, we saw striking consistency with last year's data. In every case but China, the same top ten collaboration partners were found, with only small changes in order. China saw a new country at #10 (the Netherlands, replacing Italy).

Collaboration in Europe

We also focused on Europe, traditionally a region that collaborates heavily because of geographic proximity and requirements from EU-run programs. Below are the top ten pairs of collaborating countries in Europe, available also as a downloadable report. The United Kingdom is part of half of the top pairs, Germany is part of four pairs, and France and Italy are part of three. While collaboration is likely to continue in Europe thanks to programs like the EU's Horizon 2020, it is unclear what the effects of the “Brexit” will have on collaboration involving the UK.

  1. United Kingdom and Germany (9,730 papers)
  2. United Kingdom and Italy (6,618)
  3. United Kingdom and France (6,470)
  4. United Kingdom and the Netherlands (6,191)
  5. Germany and France (5,545)
  6. Germany and Switzerland (5,258)
  7. Germany and Netherlands (5,235)
  8. Germany and Italy (5,171)
  9. United Kingdom and Spain (4,783)
  10. France and Italy (4,625)
2016 Europe Annual Report on Collaboration in Science

Collaboration data

As with last year's report, you can find the numbers behind our analysis of PubMed data, as part of AJE's Scholarly Publishing Data and Trends collection on figshare. Let us know if you see anything interesting in there!

Peer review and publicationIndustry InsightsScholarly Publishing InsightsCollaborationDownloadablesData reportsChinaBrazilGermanyJapanSouth KoreaUnited States2015
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