A research analyst has created a map of scientific collaboration between cities around the world from 2005 to 2009.

Olivier Beauchesne works at Science-Metrix, a bibliometric consulting firm which finds ways to measure the impact and growth of scientific discovery in the world. In order to do this, the company licenses data from companies which aggregate scientific journals (such as Scopus and Web of Science).

Beauchesne — inspired by Facebook’s friendship map — analysed the extracts of all of these articles to find where there was collaboration. So if a Cambridge University researcher published a paper with a colleague at the University of Arizona then that would create the pairing of Cambridge and Tuscon.

Beauchesne used the Geonames.org database to convert the names of the cities to geographical coordinates. Following a similar approach to the Facebook friendship map, he then used a Mercator projection to plot the collaborative pairs’ coordinates and then the Great Circle algorithm to trace the lines between the cities. The brightness of the lines corresponds to the number of collaborations between the cities.

You can check out a super-high-resolution version of the map in our gallery, or if that isn’t enough for you, then the original can be found here.