Monday, November 26, 2018

The Map of Scientific Collaboration

Olivier H. Beauchesne has created an interactive map which shows the international collaboration of scientists around the world. The map plots the connections between scientists and researchers in different cities as seen in scientific journals and papers ("for example, if a UCLA researcher published a paper with a colleague at the University of Tokyo, this would create an instance of collaboration between Los Angeles and Tokyo").

The Map of Scientific Collaboration reveals how scientists collaborate across borders around the world. As Beauchesne notes it also reveals some interesting patterns within individual countries. For example Paris seems to play a central role in French science. No matter where scientists live or work in France they all seem to collaborate with another scientist in Paris. In comparison the UK seems to have a less centralized scientific network. This is perhaps a result of the major Oxbridge universities being located outside of London.

Ironically, despite the global collaboration of scientists demonstrated in the Map of Scientific Collaboration, most people around the world won't actually be able to read the scientific papers from which the map was created. Unless they know about Sci-Hub.

Sci-Hub is an online repository of pirated scientific academic papers and articles. It allows researchers and students to access expensive pay-walled academic content. Content that is usually only available from expensive academic journal publishers. This pay-walled system can be prohibitively expensive, especially for struggling students and researchers from developing countries. It has been claimed that the popularity of Sci-Hub in countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran proves that Sci-Hub is providing access to scientific research to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.

In an article on the Science website, Who's Downloading Pirated Papers?, John Bohannon has created an interactive map showing where pirated scientific academic papers and articles have been downloaded from Sci-Hub around the world. In order to make the map Bohannon contacted Alexandra Elbakyan, the Sci-Hub creator, to request the geographic location of every user who has downloaded an academic paper from Sci-Hub. In order to protect the privacy of Sci-Hub users the data was aggregated to the nearest city.

1 comment:

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