The Market Structure of the Internationalization of Communication Research : From Monopoly to Competitive Oligopoly


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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-246
Number of pages60
Journal / PublicationCommunication & Society
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


“Internationalization of communication research” refers to the production, distribution, and consumption of scholarly works across national/regional borders. We focus in the current study on the distribution phase while covering some part of the production phase (e.g., coauthorship), based on publications in SSCICommunication journals from 1980 to 2019. Internationalization has become an increasingly popular topic in communication research but been largely conceived as a geopolitical or social class issue. We depart from the tradition by considering internationalized communication publications as a marketplace of ideas, in which nations compete for materialistic gains rather than ideological influence. To test the argument, we first examine whether the market is dominated by a single nation (i.e., monopolistic structure) or by a group of nations (oligopolistic structure) and further assess whether the market leaders collaborate (to form a cooperative oligopoly) or compete (a competitive oligopoly).
The results show that the market of internationalized communication research has continuously expanded over the last four decades, which has enabled a growing number of nations to participate in the market. The U.S. has remained the most productive nation, but its dominance has steadily declined, suggesting the fall of Americanization. Meanwhile, three clusters of nations, including those from the Commonwealth, North Europe, and East Asia, respectively, have emerged to share the market with the U.S., giving rise to a multinational oligopoly. However, there is a visible division and competition between the U.S. and European nations, which challenges the validity of Westernization. We conclude that the internationalized communication research is likely to remain as a competitive oligopoly for some time to come.

Research Area(s)

  • internationalization of communication research, Americanization of communication research, Westernization of communication research, competitive oligopoly, international coauthorship