The dynamics of global R&D collaboration networks in ICT: Does China catch up with the US?

Thomas Scherngell, Charlotte Rohde, Martina Neuländtner

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to identify and characterize the structure and Dynamics of global R&D collaboration Networks in ICT by analyzing cross-country co-patents, with a special focus on the role of China. We employ a Social Network Analysis(SNA)perspective, using information on more than 77 thousand co-patents from 2001–2015. The seco-patents are disaggregated by three time periods and four ICT subsectors. Global measures for the net-work as a whole, as well as local measures on the positioning of countries in the networks are interpreted. The empirical results are highly interesting. First, international R&D collaboration networks in ICT show a dynamic transformation in becoming larger in magnitude (more countries but also more inter-linkages), less centralized and more densely connected, though with varying degrees across ICT subsectors. Second, the powerful position of the US weakens relatively compared to other, increasingly connected countries, in particular China. While China has already surpassed the US in total patenting in ICT in 2015, China is now also catching up from a Network perspective shown by its growing central position over the observed time period.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 507026 Economic geography
  • 502014 Innovation research

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