International Stem Cell Collaboration: How Disparate Policies between the United States and the United Kingdom Impact Research
Luo, Jingyuan; Flynn, Jesse M.; Solnick, Rachel E.; Ecklund, Elaine Howard; Matthews, Kirstin R.W.
As the scientific community globalizes, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of international collaboration on the quality and quantity of research produced. While it is generally assumed that international collaboration enhances the quality of research, this phenomenon is not well examined. Stem cell research is unique in that it is both politically charged and a research area that often generates international collaborations, making it an ideal case through which to examine international collaborations. Furthermore, with promising medical applications, the research area is dynamic and responsive to a globalizing science environment. Thus, studying international collaborations in stem cell research elucidates the role of existing international networks in promoting quality research, as well as the effects that disparate national policies might have on research. This study examined the impact of collaboration on publication significance in the United States and the United Kingdom, world leaders in stem cell research with disparate policies. We reviewed publications by US and UK authors from 2008, along with their citation rates and the political factors that may have contributed to the number of international collaborations. The data demonstrated that international collaborations significantly increased an article's impact for UK and US investigators. While this applied to UK authors whether they were corresponding or secondary, this effect was most significant for US authors who were corresponding authors. While the UK exhibited a higher proportion of international publications than the US, this difference was consistent with overall trends in international scientific collaboration. The findings suggested that national stem cell policy differences and regulatory mechanisms driving international stem cell research in the US and UK did not affect the frequency of international collaborations, or even the countries with which the US and UK most often collaborated. Geographical and traditional collaborative relationships were the predominate considerations in establishing international collaborations.