Webology, Volume 6, Number 1, March, 2009

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Letter to the Editor
'Scientific collaboration and quality of scientific research'

Dear Dr. Noruzi
The conclusions you reached in your editorial (Noruzi, 2008) that 'a published paper resulting from collaborative research has a higher chance of attracting more citations' might well be right, but not from the data that you presented. In your study you counted the number of co-authored and the number of single-authored papers published from prestigious universities, and the numbers of citations that they received. But it is not correct to conclude from this procedure that co-authoring leads to higher citation rates because, in your study, there were many more co-authored papers. Technically, to test your hypothesis properly, you would need to compare the citation rates of an equal number of co-authored and single-authored papers to arrive at a fair conclusion.

It may well be true that co-authoring has many advantages - including higher citation rates - and this conclusion has been reported by others in addition to the authors that you cite (e.g., see Bahr & Zemon, 2000; Lee & Bozerman, 2005). And, in this connection, it is of interest to observe that in my summary of the publication rates of 11 Nobel prizewinners, I reported that all of them collaborated with others on occasion. However, it is also of interest that four of them published more single-authored papers than joint-authored ones, and that seven of them did the reverse (Hartley, 2008).

With best wishes
James Hartley
School of Psychology
Keele University
j.hartley (at) psy.keele.ac.uk


Bibliographic information of this paper for citing:

Hartley, James (2009).   "Letter to the Editor: 'Scientific collaboration and quality of scientific research'."   Webology, 6(1), editorial 19. Available at: http://www.webology.org/2009/v6n1/editorial19.html

Copyright © 2009, James Hartley.