Map of scientific collaborations, worldwide

By Grant Jacobs 28/01/2011 4

A tweet from Jennifer Rohn (@JennyRohn) late last night alerted me to an excellent infographic made by Olivier Beauchesne showing a world map of scientific collaborations. Readers should visit his blog for an explanation of what he’s built and to the zoomable map to browse it.

Below is a portion of the map showing Europe to the centre left and India to the right. I presume the point out to the top-left is Iceland. As for the point near the very top–somewhere up in the Arctic? (Any ideas?)


In broad terms research papers with authors from more than one city/country are plotted as a line between the cities, with the brightness of the lines connecting two cities reflecting the logarithm of the number of collaborations between the pair of cities and the logarithm of the distance between the two cities.

A static high-resolution image is available, but unless you’re happy downloading a huge image, I recommend the zoomable map.


Take a moment to let your eyes flesh-out the outline of each continent, as there is no physical map in the background. (Yet; in a comment on his blog he has indicated that he might do this at some stage.)

In the full map, Europe, with Africa below, is in centre and the Americas to the left. New Zealand doesn’t really feature at the world map level, but zoom in on the right-bottom corner and you’ll see it appear.

Apple laptop users should find that they can zoom in/out using up/down two-finger gestures on the trackpad. (Easier than using the slider provided.)


Those wishing for a critique of over-interpreting this may find Sergey’s comment on Cowie’s blog a starting point. (I have to admit to having similar reservations, but as I don’t like offering criticism without offering a solution I left it unsaid.)

Other articles on Code for life:

Retrospective–The mythology of bioinformatics

What’s the weirdest university course you know of?

Update – BMJ Wakefield series continues, fingers pointed at Lancet and Royal Free

Fact or fallacy, a survey of immunisation statements in the print media

Professors, lost souls with great oratory power?

4 Responses to “Map of scientific collaborations, worldwide”

  • What have you being doing to provoke them? 😉


    That’s just is the way Apple describes them, as one-, two-, three- and four-finger gestures.

    Let your imagine roam freely for the latter two, perhaps? 😉

  • Your Arctic query: that’ll be the university in Tromso Norway- dynamic, highly collaborative institution!

  • Jenny,

    That was my instant thought too, but then I thought “isn’t it too far north for them?” Y’know, being the cautious cross-checking type that I am and all that… Other locations that I took to be in Scandinavian countries are quite a bit further south. Or at least that what I made of the plots. It’s a pity there is no physical map, it’d make it obvious!

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