Clarivate Global Research Report Outlines Rising Impact in Latin America

New data on research landscape of 34 countries across South & Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean highlights benefits of an EU-style regional collaborative research organization

Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today released a report which examines the research landscape of a diverse region of 34 countries, across South and Central America, Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean, over four decades since 1981. 

In the latest Global Research Report, Latin America: South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, analysts at the Institute for Scientific Information™ at Clarivate identify a complex research landscape and refer to the potential benefit of a regional research organization to enable further research growth, training and capacity to tackle common challenges.

Key findings: 

  • The number of academic research papers indexed in the Web of Science™ has grown more rapidly for the region than for most of the rest of the world. More than three-quarters of the region’s research is from South America.
  • From 2016 to 2020, five countries published more than 25,000 papers, another 12 published between 1,000 and 10,000 papers, and the other 17 countries published fewer than 200 papers per year on average. Brazil is by far the largest research producer and 10 of the 34 countries, including Cuba and Mexico, account for more than three-quarters of regional output.
  • The analysis reveals that regional collaboration is uniformly low, approaching just 10% of collaboration in Nicaragua and Bolivia, while Brazil is the most collaborative country within the region.
  • International research output is significant and increasing – the United States, Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are collaborating with all the major economies in the region, but particular interest comes from Mainland China, where collaboration with Latin America is rising at twice that of other major countries.
  • As output has grown, research subject diversity has risen in most of the larger countries, driven by international collaboration. Areas of particular regional strength, identified through analysis of journal use and citation topic modeling, include life and environmental sciences, tropical medicine, astronomy, education and romance literature.
  • The report also finds that language is an important regional factor. With growing international collaboration, the benefits of enabling access of research findings to a global network of researchers is beneficial to both writer and reader. Comparison between the numbers of papers in the English, Portuguese and Spanish languages in the Web of Science and in the regional SciELO Citation Index™ produces a similar language balance, although SciELO has fewer internationally collaborative papers in English. A fall is evident in the number of papers authored in Portuguese, and English has become the dominant ‘lingua americana’ of science as researchers in Brazil increasingly seek to publish in English-language journals.
  • Open access (OA) is a successful and expanding part of regional publication patterns, but citation rates of OA papers are not yet as high as in other regions.

Jonathan Adams, Chief Scientist at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “Our report demonstratesthere are many challenges, common to many countries. It is therefore most concerning that research collaboration within the region remains extremely low. There are significant potential benefits for the creation of a regional research organization to enable further research growth, training and capacity building to tackle common challenges across the region. The European research framework has undoubtedly boosted achievement and is a model that could work equally well in Latin America.”

Joel Haspel, SVP Strategy, Science at Clarivate said: “Latin America is a region of exceptional ecological significance and has been a source of products and innovation with economic and social impact. This report identifies the need for a trans-national research organization that can pool some part of national resources to drive shared programs and projects to mutual benefit in order to accelerate the pace of innovation across the region.”