Geographical trends in academic conferences: an analysis on authors' affiliations

Tracking #: 550-1530

Responsible editor: 

sahar vahdati

Submission Type: 

Research Paper


In the last decade, research literature reached an enormous volume with an unprecedented current annual increase of 1.5 million new publications. As research gets ever more global and new countries and institutions, either from academia or corporate environments, start to contribute with their share, it is important to monitor this complex scenario and understand its dynamics and equilibria. We present a study on a conference proceedings dataset extracted from Springer Nature Scigraph that illustrates insightful geographical trends and highlights the unbalanced growth of competitive research institutions worldwide in the 1996--2016 period. The main contribution of this work is fourfold. In first instance, we found that the distributions of institutions and publications among countries follow a power law, consistently with previous literature, i.e., very few countries keep producing most of the papers accepted by high-tier conferences. Secondly, we show how the annual and overall turnover rate of country rankings is extremely low and steadily declines over time, suggesting an alarmingly static landscape in which new entries struggle to emerge. In third instance, we performed an analysis of the venue locations and their effect on the distribution of countries involved in the accepted publications, underlining the central role of Europe and China as knowledge hubs. Finally, we evidenced the presence of an increasing gap between the number of institutions initiating and overseeing research endeavours (i.e. first and last authors' affiliations) and the total number of institutions participating in research. As a consequence of our analysis, the paper also discusses our experience in working with authors' affiliations: an utterly simple matter at first glance, that is instead revealed to be a complex research and technical challenge yet far from being settled.



  • Reviewed

Special issue (if applicable): 


Data repository URLs:

Date of Submission: 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Date of Decision: 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019



Solicited Reviews:

1 Comment

Meta-Review by Editor

Although scholarly communication, in general, have become considerably easier and more efficient, scholars encounter problems in finding metaresearch statistics. This research work provides a systematic analysis of scholarly metadata using a conference proceedings dataset extracted from Springer Nature. The dataset contains information about scholarly literature published at certain academic conferences. The experiments represent the location movement of research topics over time and demonstrates a concentration of content from several countries. Overall the work is considered valuable and interesting from the community and have an impact in the life cycle of scholarly communication in general with the provided insights. 

There are certain changes suggested by the reviewers that are expected to be applied by the authors. All the typographical and grammatical issues are expected to be addressed. Although the data is available and reusable, the authors are expected to increase the FAIRness of the data based on the suggestion of the reviewers.

sahar vahdati (