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Patent Collaboration Networks in Latin America: Extra-regional Orientation and Core-Periphery Structure

ISSNYear: 2021
EditorialEditorial: Journal of Scientometric Research

This paper analyzes international collaboration networks associated with invention and patenting in Latin America between 1970 and 2017. We use data from US patent records retrieved from the Patents View platform. We select patents with actors located in Latin American countries and create networks where nodes are countries and links represent collaboration among inventors and among patent owners located in different countries. We apply various social network analysis methods. First, we calculate whole-network indicators with the aim of comparing interaction dynamics on a regional scale with extraregional connections. Second, we test the existence of a core-periphery structure and identify core and peripheral countries in the network. Results show a clear extra-regional orientation of links, evidencing the absence of a regionally integrated innovation system and the existence of a core-periphery structure. In such structure, only the largest countries in the region, like Brazil, Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Argentina, Chile or Colombia, monopolize most of the international collaborative links which connect them mainly to Europe, Asia and the US. Meanwhile, the rest of the Latin American countries remain almost disconnected from each other. These findings seem to reveal two important weaknesses of the regional innovation system in Latin America: first, innovation processes developed in the region are excessively dependent on collaborations with countries outside Latin America; second, there is a waste of potential sub-regional collaborations between neighboring countries that could be sharing research projects and complementing their capacities and resources to improve innovation processes.
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