Working Paper 109
A Bird’s Eye View of Worldwide University Science
Published February 2024

The last three decades have seen the evolution of a networked global science system, sustained by sharing and collaboration and codified by journal publishing and bibliometric inclusion/exclusion, that has come to play the leading epistemic role in the natural science-based disciplines. Global science is dominated by scientists from the leading Anglophone universities and almost exclusively published in English, excluding the larger part of the world’s knowledge. However, the networked science system has encouraged the entry of new incoming countries, and production in science has become much more plural. Almost half of all science papers within the English-language science system are generated from outside the Euro-American ‘West’, not to mention the work done in other languages that is not part of the common conversation because it is not translated into the sole global language – it is treated as solely local rather than universal knowledge. In other words, there is a fundamental lack of fit between the broad post-colonial distribution of capacity and the continuing neo-colonial structure of institutional and cultural power. There is also both ongoing tension and also synergy between the global science system and national systems and purposes. The paper summarises and critically reviews these developments, supporting its exposition with data mapping of global science. It notes that nationally centred geo-political conflict, partly powered by the tension between established and rising science powers, now threaten to disrupt the peaceful evolution of global cooperation in science. The way forward lies in the reassertion of open cooperation, within a global knowledge system reconfigured to include the full diversity of languages and cultures.