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Patterns of co-authorship and research collaboration in Malaysia

Ming Yu Cheng (Faculty of Accountancy and Management, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kajang, Malaysia)
Kai Wah Hen (Faculty of Accountancy and Management, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kajang, Malaysia)
Hoi Piew Tan (Faculty of Accountancy and Management, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kajang, Malaysia)
Kuk Fai Fok (ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology (AAET), Puchong, Malaysia)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 25 November 2013




By exploring the patterns of co-authorship, this paper aims to identify the degree and type of research collaboration in Malaysia.


A total of 22,244 publication records from five research universities in Malaysia were retrieved from Scopus database. Journal articles published for the period between 2008 and October 2011 were collected. Indicators such as number of authors, subject areas, number of local institutions and foreign countries, were analysed using simple statistical tools to identity the degree and type of collaboration.


The findings reveal that in Malaysia, researchers tend to work in teams but collaboration is more dominant in science-based research than social sciences. Academics published extensively with their colleagues from the same university or from other academic institutions, but there is little collaboration with researchers from public research institutes or industry. In terms of international collaboration, Iran, India, UK, Japan and the USA are the top five collaborating countries. Disciplines with significant international collaboration are physics and astronomy; chemistry; agricultural and biological sciences; engineering; health profession and computer sciences.


This paper is among the few that study the patterns of co-authorship in Malaysia and most probably the first to examine the patterns in the Malaysian research universities. The study highlights the skewed distribution of co-authorship patterns where there is limited evidence of cross sectors collaboration in journal publication. The findings call for policy makers as well as universities to look into the constraints as well as drivers that would enhance the linkage of different actors in the national research system.



The authors wish to thank Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia for sponsoring this research project under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS).


Yu Cheng, M., Wah Hen, K., Piew Tan, H. and Fai Fok, K. (2013), "Patterns of co-authorship and research collaboration in Malaysia", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 65 No. 6, pp. 659-674.



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