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Structure and patterns of cross-national Big Data research collaborations

Jiming Hu (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Yin Zhang (School of Information, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 9 October 2017

Issue publication date: 12 October 2017




The purpose of this paper is to reveal the structure and patterns of cross-national collaborations in Big Data research through application of various social network analysis and geographical visualization methods.


The sample includes articles containing Big Data research, covering all years, in the Web of Science Core Collection as of December 2015. First, co-occurrence data representing collaborations among nations were extracted from author affiliations. Second, the descriptive statistics, network indicators of collaborations, and research communities were calculated. Third, topological network maps, geographical maps integrated with topological network projections, and proportional maps were produced for visualization.


The results show that the scope of international collaborations in Big Data research is broad, but the distribution among nations is unbalanced and fragmented. The USA, China, and the UK were identified as the major contributors to this research area. Five research communities are identified, led by the USA, China, Italy, South Korea, and Brazil. Collaborations within each community vary, reflecting different levels of research development. The visualizations show that nations advance in Big Data research are centralized in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.


This study applied various informetric methods and tools to reveal the collaboration structure and patterns among nations in Big Data research. Visualized maps help shed new light on global research efforts.



Hu, J. and Zhang, Y. (2017), "Structure and patterns of cross-national Big Data research collaborations", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 6, pp. 1119-1136.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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