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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Quantitative Science Studies (2021) 2 (1): 350–362.
Published: 08 April 2021
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AbstractView article PDF
Modern science is dominated by scientific productions from teams. A recent finding shows that teams of both large and small sizes are essential in research, prompting us to analyze the extent to which a country’s scientific work is carried out by big or small teams. Here, using over 26 million publications from Web of Science, we find that China’s research output is more dominated by big teams than the rest of the world, which is particularly the case in fields of natural science. Despite the global trend that more papers are written by big teams, China’s drop in small team output is much steeper. As teams in China shift from small to large size, the team diversity that is essential for innovative work does not increase as much as that in other countries. Using the national average as the baseline, we find that the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) supports fewer small teams than the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States does, implying that big teams are preferred by grant agencies in China. Our finding provides new insights into the concern of originality and innovation in China, which indicates a need to balance small and big teams.
Includes: Supplementary data