I got an alert from Wiley that this article, “Team size matters: Collaboration and scientific impact since 1900,” was published in JASIST. I then found that the authors posted a previous version at the arXiv.
Team size matters: Collaboration and scientific impact since 1900 by Vincent Lariviere, Cassidy Sugimoto, Andrew Tsou, Yves Gingras
This paper provides the first historical analysis of the relationship between collaboration and scientific impact, using three indicators of collaboration (number of authors, number of addresses, and number of countries) and including articles published between 1900 and 2011. The results demonstrate that an increase in the number of authors leads to an increase in impact–from the beginning of the last century onwards–and that this is not simply due to self-citations. A similar trend is also observed for the number of addresses and number of countries represented in the byline of an article. However, the constant inflation of collaboration since 1900 has resulted in diminishing citation returns: larger and more diverse (in terms of institutional and country affiliation) teams are necessary to realize higher impact. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential causes of the impact gain in citations of collaborative papers.