US Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 00-131 Online Version 1.0

[Approved for publication 3/21/00]

U.S. Geological Survey Collaboration with International Authors, 1987-1998

By Valentina Markusova and Paul P. Hearn


The use of science and technology indicators for making decisions on publicly funded research remains of major interest to the U.S. Government. As the recently published National Science Foundation (NSF) biannual report, Science and Engineering Indicators, 1998, stated, globalization is one of the distinguishing features of modern science. If research activity is to be evaluated properly, it is necessary to examine the publications resulting from such activity. To achieve this goal, the NSF report used statistical data derived from the Science Citation Index (SCI), which is a database produced on CD-ROM by the Institute for Scientific Information, based in Philadelphia, Pa.

The SCI is a unique index providing multidisciplinary coverage of journal literature and offering a variety of access points to these data. Issues of each journal included in the database are indexed cover to cover, including substantive items and all cited references. Advertisements and news notices are omitted. The SCI also includes monograph series, which are indexed in the same manner as journals. In general, each annual index includes about 700,000 items and about 15 million references from 3,400 leading journals published in 63 countries.

According to the NSF report, half of the articles published in SCI journals in 1995 had multiple authors; almost 30 percent of those articles involved international collaboration. This trend was evident in all fields as a steadily growing fraction of most nations' papers involved co-authors from different countries. Between 1981 and 1995, the publication of articles increased by 20 percent, that of co-authored articles by 80 percent, and that of internationally co-authored articles by 200 percent. For almost every nation having strong international co-authorship ties, the number of articles involving U.S. authors rose markedly between 1981 and 1995. Concurrently, however, as many nations broadened the scope of their international collaborations, the U.S. share of the world's internationally co-authored articles declined.

The SCI database was also used to evaluate USGS authorship of international collaborative papers. The "USGS Database of Collaborative Papers with Foreign Countries" (USGS-Papers) includes more than 1,200 papers published by USGS researchers and their colleagues from foreign countries from 1987 to 1998. This time span was chosen owing to the increase of collaborations observed in many scientific studies.

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This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards or with the North American Stratigraphic Code. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government

For questions about the content of this report, contact Paul Hearn at

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