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Digital Research Report: The Implications of International Research Collaboration for UK Universities

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Version 3 2016-03-16, 11:25
Version 2 2016-03-01, 10:11
Version 1 2016-02-29, 10:31
posted on 2016-03-16, 11:25 authored by Digital ScienceDigital Science, Tamar LoachTamar Loach

Digital Science reports in collaboration with the International Unit at Universities UK (UUK) on the significance of international academic collaboration across the UK research base.

The report focuses on the implications of EU and global collaboration for universities, research assessment and the economy. International collaboration is increasingly prevalent, accounting for more than half of the UK’s annual research output across UK universities; this is associated with increased citation impact.

The main findings of the report highlight how:

  • Knowledge capacity is compromised by a failure to be active internationally. The emergence of international knowledge networks (a ‘Fourth Age’ of research) and the disparity between those more and less engaged will be a critical factor in university strategies.  Today, the majority of our international collaborative partners in research are in other EU member states.

  • Quantitative research assessment is less able to provide informative comparative reports. International collaboration is now so prevalent, and covers so much of the most highly-cited output, that no analysis or profile can be exclusively attributable to any single country or university.  

  • Owning exclusive knowledge assets is becoming meaningless unless our academic base has the right skills to take advantage of them.  If papers are shared then their content and IP is shared.The agility to exploit them ahead of competitors will be important. A flourishing university research base provides an ideal environment for developing knowledge-competent people with the skills that our European competitive economies require.  


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