Which international co-authorships produce higher quality journal articles?

Mike Thelwall (Lead / Corresponding author), Kayvan Kousha, Mahshid Abdoli, Emma Stuart, Meiko Makita, Paul Wilson, Jonathan Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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International collaboration is sometimes encouraged in the belief that it generates higher quality research or is more capable of addressing societal problems. Nevertheless, while there is evidence that the journal articles of international teams tend to be more cited than average, perhaps from increased international audiences, there is no science-wide direct academic evidence of a connection between international collaboration and research quality. This article empirically investigates the connection between international collaboration and research quality for the first time, with 148,977 UK-based journal articles with post publication expert review scores from the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Using an ordinal regression model controlling for collaboration, international partners increased the odds of higher quality scores in 27 out of 34 Units of Assessment (UoAs) and all Main Panels. The results therefore give the first large scale evidence of the fields in which international co-authorship for articles is usually apparently beneficial. At the country level, the results suggests that UK collaboration with other high research-expenditure economies generates higher quality research, even when the countries produce lower citation impact journal articles than the United Kingdom. Worryingly, collaborations with lower research-expenditure economies tend to be judged lower quality, possibly through misunderstanding Global South research goals.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Early online date5 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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