VII.6 Scientific Collaborations between World Cities

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Olivier H. Beauchesne

Olivier H. Beauchesne is a Montreal based data scientist with an interest in complex data visualization, social media analysis, public opinion and big data. He also develops analytical and interactive data visualization tools. The map shown here visualizes the localized stream of collaborations between researchers in different cities that are usually represented in a very symbolic or schematized way, aggregated at the country level. Elsevier’s Scopus was used to compute the number of all collaborations between city pairs from 2005 to 2009. The city names were then converted to geographic coordinates and projected on a plane using a Great Ellipse tracing algorithm that computes the shortest path between two points on Earth. Key aspects of the international science system can be rapidly gleaned from this visualization, such as the fact that Africa and South America collaborate often with the countries that had formerly colonized them. Most impressive is the density of collaborations within Europe and, to a lesser extent, within North America. This shows the impact of population density and highlights the need to examine collaboration data within, not just between countries.


Beauchesne, Olivier H. Map of Scientific Collaborations from 2005 to 2009. Accessed September 21, 2011.

Butler, Paul. 2010. “Visualizing Friendships.” Facebook. Accessed September 21, 2011.

Beauchesne, Olivier H. 2011. Stream of Scientific Collaborations between World Cities. Courtesy of Science-Metrix, Inc. In “7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.