Published May 26, 2023 | Version v1
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The division of scientific labour: an empirical view on contributions to global science from the periphery

  • 1. Stellenbosch University


Acknowledged in the contribution dynamics of authorship is an asymmetry between the Global North and the Global South (also referred to as the ‘scientific periphery’) in the production of new knowledge. Marginson (2022) points to a dominant global discourse that frames science as a centre-periphery hierarchy. Baber (2003: 621) refers to a perpetuation of ‘an unstated but real global division of intellectual labour’. Others argue that theoretical and methodological innovations are considered legitimate tasks for Global North scholars while data collection is the designated role for those from the Global South. This paper examines the contribution of scientists from the Global South by relying on multi-authored scholarly publications to assess their changing contributions to global science over time. The focus on the contributions of scholars in the Global South in an asymmetrical global science system provides a unique and empirical perspective. It is a perspective that accounts for the networked nature of science that shapes the relative contributions to the global scientific network and provides important insights for funders and policy-makers seeking to establish equitable partnerships between the Global North and the Global South in global science.


Atlanta Presentation Division of labour.pdf

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