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International Research Collaboration: Novelty, Conventionality, and Atypicality in Knowledge Recombination

Published Date June 01, 2019
Research Type


Research articles produced through international collaboration are more highly cited than other work, but are they also more novel? Using measures developed by Uzzi et al. (2013), and replicated by Boyack and Klavans (2014), this article tests for novelty and conventionality in international research collaboration. Scholars have found that coauthored articles are more novel and have suggested that diverse groups have a greater chance of producing creative work. As such, we expected to find that international collaboration tends to produce more novel research. Using data from Web of Science and Scopus in 2005, we failed to show that international collaboration tends to produce more novel articles. In fact, international collaboration appears to produce less novel and more conventional knowledge combinations. Transaction costs and communication barriers to international collaboration may suppress novelty. Higher citations to international work may be explained by an audience effect, where more authors from more countries results in greater access to a larger citing community. The findings are consistent with explanations of growth in international collaboration that posit a social dynamic of preferential attachment based upon reputation.

International research collaboration: Novelty, conventionality, and atypicality in knowledge recombination
CS Wagner, TA Whetsell, S Mukherjee
Research Policy 48 (5), 1260-1270