Factors affecting inter-regional academic scientific collaboration within Europe: the role of economic distance
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SourceScientometrics, 87(1): 63-74.
This paper offers some insights into scientific collaboration (SC) at the regional level by drawing upon two lines of inquiry. The first involves examining the spatial patterns of university SC across the EU-15 (all countries belonging to the European Union between 1995 and 2004). The second consists of extending the current empirical analysis on regional SC collaboration by including the economic distance between regions in the model along with other variables suggested by the extant literature. The methodology relies on co-publications as a proxy for academic collaboration, and in order to test the relevance of economic distance for the intensity of collaboration between regions, we put forward a gravity equation. The descriptive results show that there are significant differences in the production of academic scientific papers between less-favoured regions and core regions. However, the intensity of collaboration is similar in both types of regions. Our econometric findings suggest that differences in scientific resources (as measured by R&D expenditure) between regions are relevant in explaining academic scientific collaborations, while distance in the level of development (as measured by per capita GDP) does not appear to play any significant role. Nevertheless, other variables in the analysis, including geographical distance, specialization and cultural factors, do yield significant estimated coefficients, and this is consistent with the previous literature on regional SC.