Monday, August 25, 2008

The New Invisible College: Science for Development

I have just read The New Invisible College: Science for Development by Caroline Wagner. As expected from one of the world's leading experts on international science and technology, it is very good.

I have known Caroline for years. We are now both on the faculty of George Washington University (albeit in different schools). We worked together on a White House conference on Biotechnology, and have appeared together on panels. More fundamentally, she is the author of a series of reports going back decades which quantified the nature of international scientific collaboration -- reports which informed my own beliefs and work.

The book counterposes the internationalization of science through increasingly elaborated global networks of collaboration against the concentration of activity in scientific clusters primarily located in rich countries. (There is a great map showing these clusters, based on publication counts.) Her use of social network analysis to illuminate the changing nature of the global scientific system is especially innovative and illuminating.

The book is not only dry statistics, but includes appropriate illustrative examples of research projects and interviews with key informants, making it readable and indeed a pleasant read.

The final chapter provides some thoughtful and important recommendations for science policy in developed and developing nations.

My hat is off to Caroline!

Here is the link to the book on Amazon (which offers a discount)!

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