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Networking in International Coauthorship

Despite the good reasons to expect scientific coauthorship in networks to enhance researchers’ productivity, it is worth imagining that it is not an easy task. There are limitations perceived, say Lee and Bozeman (2005, p. 675). There are costs of time and energy, transaction costs, disappointing results, and projects that never finish. Collaboration with a senior or an experienced scientist may represent a tithe given voluntarily. As research collaboration is needed for science to exist, international, South-North, East-West research collaboration must occur to be recognized as legitimate and, by extension, for its existence to be acknowledged.

Although in this fourth age of research science is expanded by networking, the expansion occurs in a contradictory fashion, within the possible frontiers and its limits. On the one hand, “to be seen really means being seen by the right crowd, i.e. the core set of journal”; on the other, “Southern perspectives on research visibility/invisibility strongly hold onto a central principle: the right to share and participate” (Vessuri et al., 2013, p. 5) in the scientific community.

If we take again the example provided by Nature (Van Noorden, 2014), Latin America, focusing on Brazil, possesses a “fluorescent” research developed in networks. The networks are established and coauthorships are made between researchers ofSouth American countries, with emphasis on the relationships of Brazil, a country that publishes the most, with Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Uruguay. The data of Nature

(Van Noorden, 2014) show that between 3,000 and 3,500 publications were made in collaboration or coauthorship between Brazilian and Argentinian researchers in the years 2008-2012, and between 2,500 and 3,000 coauthorships in the same period between Brazilian and Chilean and Brazilian and Colombian researchers. However, the highest rates of collaboration and the highest number of coauthorship networks of Brazilian researchers continue to institute themselves with North American researchers. As we know, not just the researchers but also the students seeking prestige for their curricula and accumulation of academic capital seek to carry out their international internships in North American or European than in Latin American universities. The promising practice ofresearch in collaboration networks that exists in the South-South direction, identified even by Nature, can create new expectations for the students outside the Global South-North mobility axis.

The appreciation of networks has been found and decanted, celebrated as welcome to the world of science. Aside from Nature, it was also enhanced by other international journals that deal with the topic of Higher Education. In 2012, for example, the journal Studies in Higher Education brought as a central theme the discussion about research universities and their influence and importance of the weaving and support to research networks. The issue in question discussed the importance, in the knowledge economy scenario, of the research universities in their role of networking the knowledge economy (Kearney and Lincoln, 2013). However, in order to weave the economy of knowledge through networks, to foster the global economy growth and the capacity of research systems, to support the research networks, the systems and policies have privileged the movement directed toward Higher Education.

 
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