Research co-authorship 1900-2020: Continuous, universal, and ongoing expansion
AbstractResearch co-authorship is useful to combine different skillsets, especially for applied problems. Whilst it has increased over the last century, it is unclear whether this increase is universal across academic fields and which fields co-author the most and least. In response, this article assesses changes in the rate of journal article co-authorship 1900-2020 for all 27 Scopus broad fields and all 332 Scopus narrow fields. Whilst all broad fields have experienced reasonably continuous growth in co-authorship, in 2020 there were substantial disciplinary differences, from Arts and Humanities (1.3 authors) to Immunology and Microbiology (6 authors). All 332 Scopus narrow fields also experienced an increase in the average number of authors. Immunology and Classics are extreme Scopus narrow fields, as exemplified by 9.6 authors per Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer article, whilst 93% of Trends in Classics articles were solo in 2020. The reason for this large difference seems to be the need for multiple complementary methods in Immunology, making it fundamentally a team science. Finally, the reasonably steady and universal increases in academic co-authorship over 121 years show no sign of slowing, suggesting that ever expanding teams are a central part of current professional science.
CitationThelwall, M. and Maflahi, N. (2022) Research co-authorship 1900-2020: Continuous, universal, and ongoing expansion. Quantitative Science Studies, 3 (2), pp. 331–344. https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00188
JournalQuantitative Science Studies
Description© 2022 The Authors. Published by MIT Press This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence, available online: https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00188
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/