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International collaboration in the creation of knowledge is changing the structural stratification of science, with implications for science policy. Analyses of collaboration in developing and emergent countries are of particular significance because initiatives are often the result 'research-for-aid'; arrangements, generally based on North–South asymmetries. However, collaboration for mutual benefit and excellence has gained increasing acceptance, with 'partner'; selection becoming a strategic priority to enhance one"s own production. This article explores the capacity of BRIC and select Latin American countries in the generation of scientific knowledge and their visibility at the global level in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The goal is to determine to what extent countries benefit from the role of their collaborators to heighten research performance in terms of citation; and how collaboration could help countries to leverage their competitiveness through the design of research and development agendas. The method relies on the decomposition of leadership, as well as its consideration in view of performance indicators such as normalized citation impact, scientific excellence, and technological impact. The results suggest that the growth of international collaboration should be interpreted as a positive aspect. Furthermore, a progressive internationalization of scientific activity concerned with local needs or topics of interest is found to have the capacity to determine research agendas whose interest would extend to communities far beyond, thereby contributing to the development of science at a national level.
scientific collaboration; research performance; leadership; latin america; brics; nanoscience and nanotechnology