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Judging Research Performance of Individual Countries – the Risk of Methodological Nationalism

Comparative Politics
Policy Analysis
Jesper Schneider
Aarhus Universitet
Jesper Schneider
Aarhus Universitet
Mads P. Sørensen
Aarhus Universitet

In this paper we want to discuss the question of methodological nationalism in relation to the growing number of comparative studies of research performance that has arisen within the last 10-15 years. Policymakers typically want to know how an isolated entity – often a nation state – is doing in relation to other similar entities. This is understandable but as we shall argue in this paper, science is especially difficult to isolate to a single nation state. Science is and has in a way always been a transnational phenomenon. Using scientometric data we want to look into this question and examine the transnational character of today’s science. These scientometrics analyses will be the basis of a general discussion on the interconnectedness of scientist and scientific ideas and the problems in making comparisons between the performance of different nation states – and the subsequent risk of methodological nationalism.
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