Bounded collaboration and changing core-periphery relationships in SinoRussian scientific co-production

Abdullah Gok, Philip Shapira, Maria Karaulova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Scientific collaboration between nations has always been considered one of the main science indicators. However, most of the attention is on the collaboration with or between centres of influence in science – countries that amass research outputs, publish main outlets for these outputs and set the general rules for academic conduct, including the language of publication. The dynamics of the collaboration between other countries and regional centres of influence has often been overlooked. In this paper, we investigate the bounded scientific co-production between countries in transition from periphery to core and vice versa. We also look into the influence of the relationship between core and transitional countries on the bounded collaboration between transitional countries, by employing a global systems perspective.
Empirically, we study the case of scientific collaboration between China and Russia in nanotechnology between 1990 and 2012. Over the past 100 years, the patterns of scientific co-production shifted significantly between the two countries. While China rose the most dynamically developing country in the world, the role of Russia declined from the core player to a peripheral actor in the regional and global research system. Previous research indicates that the rise of China’s competence in nanotechnology has led to it becoming one of the global hubs of nanotechnology research and commercialisation (Shapira and Wang, 2010).

Our research builds on these findings, reflecting China’s gradual transition to become the leading country in terms of number of nanotechnology publications, ranking the first and producing about a quarter of the global output, while Russia has gradually declined from being one of the top actors to the 13th rank with around 3% share of the global output. Although there are considerable geographic, economic, cultural and historical proximities between China and Russia, their scientific co-production is significantly bounded. For Russia, China is the 19th largest international partner with a share of around 2% of all internationally collaborated publications. For China, Russia is also ranked as the 19th representing less than 1% of all international collaborations. For both countries leading international partners are the USA and major European countries. Our empirical focus is on the causes and dynamics of this phenomenon by utilising a range of indicators. The conceptual framework of this paper derives from the world-system theory in which the relationship between core, periphery and semi-periphery countries is explained in reference to the dynamics of a global system to which they are embedded and with a special emphasis on path -dependencies. Our theoretical contribution is twofold. First, by applying the world systems theory to the study of scientific publication in a dynamic setting, we contribute to this theory which is often criticised to be neglecting socio-cultural production by over-emphasising economic production. Furthermore, we contribute to a global extension into the systems of innovation idea which is mostly considered in national and regional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI2016)
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016
Event21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI2016) - Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
Duration: 14 Sept 201616 Sept 2016


Conference21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI2016)
Abbreviated titleSTI2016


  • collaboration
  • Russia
  • China
  • scientific collaboration


Dive into the research topics of 'Bounded collaboration and changing core-periphery relationships in SinoRussian scientific co-production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this