Characterizing research leadership on geographically weighted collaboration network

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4005-4037
Journal / PublicationScientometrics
Issue number5
Online published20 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


Research collaborations, especially long-distance and international collaborations, have become increasingly prevalent worldwide. Recent studies highlighted the significant role of research leadership in collaborations. However, existing measures of the research leadership do not take into account the intensity of leadership in the co-authorship network. More importantly, the spatial features, which influence the collaboration patterns and research outcomes, have not been incorporated in measuring the research leadership. To fill the gap, we construct an institution-level weighted co-authorship network that integrates two types of weight on the edges: the intensity of collaborations and the spatial score (the geographical distance adjusted by the cross-linguistic-border nature). Based on this network, we propose a novel metric, namely the spatial research leadership rank, to identify the leading institutions while considering both the collaboration intensity and the spatial features. The leadership of an institution is measured by the following three criteria: (a) the institution frequently plays the corresponding rule in papers with other institutions; (b) the institution frequently plays the corresponding rule in longer distance and even cross-linguistic-border collaborations; (c) the participating institutions led by the institution have high leadership status themselves. Harnessing a dataset of 323,146 journal publications in pharmaceutical sciences during 2010–2018, we perform a comprehensive analysis of the geographical distribution and dynamic patterns of research leadership flows at the institution level. The results demonstrate that the SpatialLeaderRank outperforms baseline metrics in predicting the scholarly impact of institutions. And the result remains robust in the field of Information Science and Library Science.

Research Area(s)

  • Research leadership, Social network analysis, Spatial scientometrics