Thomson Reuters Shows High Cost of "Big Science" Causing Trend in Collaborative Research
Multiauthor surge driven by international interest in high-energy physics
PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 27, 2012 - The Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today reported a substantial increase in the number of multiauthor papers in recent years, with many surpassing 50 authors and some reporting upwards of 3,000 authors. The trend reveals a steep increase after remaining at a fairly low level from the late 1990s to 2007 when Thomson Reuters Science Watch last surveyed the phenomenon of multiauthorship. These findings appear in Multiauthor Papers: Onward and Upward, a ScienceWatch article.
"The significant increase of research papers with multiple authors would seem to be one marker of the high cost of today's 'big science,' with many international institutions sharing complex, expensive technology at large installations," said Christopher King, editorial content manager of Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch. "The trend is applicable mostly to the physical sciences, with physics, space science and engineering representing the fields with the largest amount of multiauthored papers."
This trend of multiauthorship began its notable spike in papers published during 2010, when ScienceWatch identified more than 15 papers indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science with at least 1,000 authors. The following year, that number jumped to 140. The multiauthor movement is being driven in large part by the substantial number of international researchers focusing on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the CERN particle accelerator located on the French/Swiss border. The LHC is being used by physicists to study the smallest known particles, which serve as the building blocks or fundamental structure of all things.
In 2011, ScienceWatch tracked 120 physics papers with more than 1,000 authors and 44 papers with more than 3,000 authors. The progression in space science, although not quite as pronounced as in physics, is equally discernible, with the number of papers with 100 or more authors increasing ten-fold between 2005 and 2010. In all, the increase in multiauthorship reflects the growing impetus toward more collaborative research and underscores the value that can be gleaned from co-producing scientific research, even while the trend sharpens an ongoing debate about the very nature of "authorship."
Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch is an open Web resource for science metrics and research performance analysis. Features include data and commentary on the people, places and topics at the forefront of science today, illustrating the power of bibliometrics for providing a prospective view into the research landscape. As a part of Thomson Reuters research analytics suite of solutions, ScienceWatch highlights the important role of research evaluation and management in support of strategic decision-making.
View Multiauthor Papers: Onward and Upward here.
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Source: Thomson Reuters Corporation via Thomson Reuters ONE