The internationalization of science

Marilia Sá Carvalho Claudia Travassos Cláudia Medina Coeli

The internationalization of science has sparked intense debate in Brazil, and been the object of major investment through the country’s “Science without Borders” program. But the internationalization is for what purpose? Or perhaps, for whom? What direction should it take?

Data recently published in Nature show an important expansion in international collaboration in the last decade, especially in some developed countries. In the United Kingdom, the proportion of articles written by authors from more than one country increased from 20% in 1981 to 50% in 2012 (Nature 2013; 497:557). In Brazil, the proportion hovered around 25% throughout the same period, reaching a peak of just over 30% in the 1990s.

This pattern of scientific collaboration led by developed Western countries has a positive impact on citation indices in their publications. In the United Kingdom, the mean citation index for articles with at least one foreign author is 1.72, compared to 1.48 for articles whose authors are all from the same country (data from 2011). South-South international cooperation would not necessarily lead to an increase in these indices.

We at Cadernos de Saúde Pública continue to develop and extend our policy of broad internationalization, as laid out in the December 2012 Editorial (Cad Saúde Pública 2012; 28:2220-1). In addition to accepting article submissions in three languages, our team of editors now includes collaboration by two Portuguese associate editors, Professors Jorge Mota from the Faculty of Sports at the University of Porto and João Arriscado Nunes from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Coimbra, besides Brazilian physician Carlos Eduardo Siqueira, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

We support internationalization as it is viewed in Brazil, including a focus on developing countries. Cadernos de Saúde Pública published 33 articles by authors from other Latin American countries in 2013 and 44 thus far in 2014, as of the June issue (no. 6). In the last 12 months we have received 97 submissions from ten different Latin American countries (other than Brazil), of which 37 are currently being reviewed or have already been approved. But of this total, only five articles have Brazilian coauthors. This brings us back to our starting point, namely the importance of encouraging international cooperation through the creation of research networks in order to increase the output of internationalized articles. Our aim is for Cadernos de Saúde Pública/Reports in Public Health to serve not only as a channel for encouraging scientific publication, with space for authors from non-central countries, but also as a door open to scientists from all over the world to generate new and relevant knowledge.

Marilia Sá Carvalho
Claudia Travassos
Cláudia Medina Coeli

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Aug 2014
Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil