Digital Science’s interactive network visualisation for the latest Nature Index Supplement

The latest Nature Index supplement takes a detailed tour through global scientific collaboration. Author affiliation data extracted from 57,501 articles published in 2014 in a slice of top-performing journals (the Nature Index database) allow an inspection of who works with who in contributing to this peak of science. The supplement explores patterns in collaboration across scales – from highly interactive institutional pairs, to an aggregate view of partnerships between countries that span continents.

Over 8,100 parent institutions are represented in the Nature Index 2014 data, and there are around 35,000 distinct institutional collaborations. Digital Science produced an interactive network visualisation of these links. The visualisation shows institutional nodes connected to each other where there is collaboration on a scientific paper. More collaboration implies a stronger connection, and this information feeds the force-directed layout algorithm used to place institutions. The weights of links that exist between institutions are hence the driver of the visual clusters of interacting institutional groups.

These clusters reveal interesting geographical patterns. Zooming in on the nodes unveils individual institutions, and clicking shows where they are located, and their overall contribution to the Nature Index. The default view is coloured according to geographic region, but this can be switched to highlight academic and industrial partnerships. These two views are combined in the Nature supplement print version reproduced below, which is complete with call-outs to interesting specifics intended to fuel further exploration.


This visualisation was created by Digital Science for the Nature Index 2015 Collaborations supplement. Take a look at the interactive version.

You can also find a comment piece from Jonathan Adams, Digital Science’s Chief Scientist, and myself, Tamar Loach, Research Metrics Analyst in the supplement here.

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