A critical examination of international research conducted by North Korean authors: Increasing trends of collaborative research between China and North Korea

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the topical areas and collaboration patterns of North Korean researchers. To conduct this study, bibliographic records of researchers affiliated with institutions in the city of Pyongyang for the years from 2002 to 2018 were retrieved from the Scopus database. The results showed disproportional levels of collaboration with China and the marginal level of research papers. North Korean researchers seemed to have worked on labor-intensive subject areas that have both civilian and military applications. The results implied that North Korea is only making modest levels of contributions to the global academic community. The increase in the number of international journal papers authored by North Korean researchers can be considered as a side benefit of maintaining a close relationship with China. The collaboration patterns of North Korea and China seemed to reflect China’s engagement policy toward North Korea and the rapid rise of China’s scientific research production in recent years. The results of this study should be taken into consideration in the design of national policies that tolerate or inhibit collaboration with North Korean researchers.

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Kim, E., Kim, E.S. A critical examination of international research conducted by North Korean authors: Increasing trends of collaborative research between China and North Korea. Scientometrics 124, 429–450 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03461-1

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Keywords

  • North Korea
  • Pyongyang
  • International collaboration
  • Highly cited papers
  • Keyword analysis
  • Civilian and military applications
  • Engagement policy