Fragmentation: a divided research world?

25th September 2023

Last updated: 23rd October 2023, with new featured articles.

Is a fragmented research ecosystem slowing global progress?

Research has the power to change lives, break down barriers and create unity & equity. When the research community solves problems together extraordinary breakthroughs can happen.

But post-pandemic, fragmentation in the research ecosystem remains one of the biggest challenges to the ability of researchers to make a real-world difference. We want to challenge the status quo, highlight the issues, and share positive ways to create better synergy and collaboration, helping to unite a divided research world.  

A new campaign

Today, 25th September 2023, we at Digital Science are launching a new campaign focusing on ‘Fragmentation – A divided research world?’.

We live in an ever more connected yet fragmented world, and the research ecosystem is no exception to this. An important question comes to mind: if components of the research ecosystem are fragmented, does this mean there is fragmentation of research itself? Or, to perhaps put it more simply: is research fragmented, and if so, how?

Our campaign aims to highlight the structural features of fragmentation, by consolidating concepts and by demonstrating a number of analytical approaches through the use of Digital Science tools such as Dimensions.

There is also something intriguing about ‘fragmentation’ that we think is worth exploring in the context of the research ecosystem, and we asked ourselves what fragmentation represents in the world of research. What does it mean in academia?  What does it mean in the corporate sector? 

The processes aligned with fragmentation are difficult to capture. However, we will shed light on these through an understanding of the processes in research, including its contributors, segments and the tools making up the research ecosystem; these will form the basis of our analysis. This campaign is also tied closely into one of Digital Science’s key missions: “Advancing the research ecosystem — together, we make open, collaborative and inclusive research possible“, and we look forward to working with the community throughout this work.

Global divides and siloed knowledge

We start our campaign with a focus on global divides, where we explore some of the geographic aspects of a fragmented world, for example in the Global North and Global South countries where we know there are many disparities.  We also examine global challenges though the lens of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and evaluate global issues including big data for sustainable development.  

The campaign then moves into the domain of siloed knowledge, where we concentrate our attention on areas of research where a lack of integration can result in research findings remaining isolated, limiting their broader applicability across the research ecosystem. Bridging the fragmented nature of research knowledge gaps and promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration is another area where we provide insights. 

Bridging the divides in research

Fragmentation applies to many aspects of the research lifecycle across different contributors from academia, organisations, research funders, governments and businesses. Each are delicately networked, and none are immune to the effects of fragmentation. 

Digital Science was originally conceived of to provide new solutions in the fragmented space with its broad portfolio of companies covering various aspects of the day-to-day research life and its necessities. We understand the fragmented state of research affairs, offering bespoke solutions for individual niches.

This campaign is about analysing and telling stories of the fragmented research world, shedding a light on places where fragmentation occurs (be it, for example, silos of knowledge or global divides) and demonstrating how we can better understand the diversity of research to future-proof—and provide solid foundations for—the global research endeavour.

Rank Outsiders

Can a new ranking reverse fragmentation in higher education?

A tale of two pharmas – Global North and Global South

Perspectives on funding & collaboration, and the localisation of SDGs in the pharmaceutical industry, via a bibliometric evaluation of scientific publications.

Exploring fragmentation: a divided research world.

This article sets out what we mean by fragmentation in the context of research, and how we will explore the topic through a variety of lenses during the campaign.

A multi-dimensional approach to assessing the impact of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In this short interview, Dr Briony Fane and Dr Juergen Wastl explain the methods behind their work on assessing how global research ties into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

SDGs: A level playing field?

A new white paper on the UN SDGs shows more can be done to raise up funding and research recognition for the developing world.

SDGs research outputs per year by country income

Reaching out

If you’d like to find out more about what Digital Science does, or have an idea for and article or a topic we should cover during this campaign, please get in touch.

You can also meet our colleagues from across Digital Science at events & webinars throughout the year, including our recently relaunched Speaker Series and #FuturePub community events.

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