Caribbean Science & Technology Research Output - a Bibliometric Study

Using the Web of Science (WoS) ® online database of Thomson Reuters, a database was prepared of all research publications from all Caribbean countries/territories except Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the period 1999-2009. This lengthy time span was chosen to provide high enough resolution to detect publications from the less productive members of the region.Since some of these Caribbean territories are not indexed as countries in WoS, specific search strategies had to be designed for these territories. All the downloaded datasets were merged and cleaned up to harmonize the variables and the modalities. A second set of searches were also performed using WoS to specifically develop a database of Caribbean publications authored in collaboration with all the EU countries and Norway. This second database in conjunction with the full database allowed a detailed analysis of the nature of the collaboration of Caribbean countries with Europe.

The analysis of the Caribbean publications for 1999-2009 showed that the thirty-two countries/territories together published 12,817 papers, an estimated 0.08% of world publications for that same period. The annual production of articles for each country and geolinguistic region was determined as well as in each thematic area. Cuba produced about half the publications while Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago each produced about 10% of the total. Guadeloupe was next in line producing about 6% of the Caribbean output. Half the territories examined produced less than 50 publications in the 11 year period and were not included in further analyses. The sum output of these was 1.7% of that for the whole region. Marked growth in output was evident in all geo-linguistic regions except the Dutch Caribbean. Most of the publications from the region fall into three thematic domains – Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences (28%); Biomedical Research (21%); Clinical Medicine (18%). When the thematic profiles of the constituent countries of each sub-region were examined, the English sub-region proved the most heterogeneous.

The visibility and specialisation of the publication profile of each Caribbean country/territory was also analysed and the relative performance of Caribbean countries/territories by thematic area compared, some of which are indicated here. In the Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Science area Curacao and Bermuda had the highest visibility while Belize showed the strongest specialisation. In Biomedical Research, Barbados and Bermuda showed the highest visibility while Grenada was the most specialised in this area. In Chemistry, publications of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago were better cited than the average for the region. In Clinical Medicine, the Dominican Republic and Haiti led the way with respect to visibility of publications.

The degree of collaboration within the Caribbean countries and between Caribbean countries and Europe was examined in detail. Generally, countries with fewer papers tended to publish with more collaborating countries. Typically, Caribbean countries publish in collaboration with Europe and with North America. Generally, the Anglophone Caribbean collaborated more with North America than Europe while the converse tended to be the case for the other Caribbean sub-regions. Aside from some major exceptions, present day patterns of collaboration tended to mirror historical links between European countries and Caribbean territories. Of European countries, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom had collaborative publications with the largest number of Caribbean partners. Of Caribbean countries, the Dominican Republic then Trinidad & Tobago collaborated with the highest number of EU states.

EU collaboration was highest in Physics, about 40% of all collaborative papers, amd lowest in Social Sciences . The evolution of papers in collaboration with the EU is higher in the Spanish- and French-speaking Caribbean and grew faster than papers not co-authored with the EU. Finally, the visibility of Caribbean papers published without European collaboration was compared with that of papers published with European collaboration. It is clear that for all Caribbean sub-regions papers published with EU collaboration had higher visibility than those without. This was seen in virtually all thematic fields, the greatest enhancement evident in Clinical Medicine.

 

 

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