A comparative analysis of Western Europe and Latin America based on social and scientific indicators
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Starting from the idea of central and peripheral areas (Shils, 1961), that a society is constructed by areas that relate to each other unequally and that it's possible to identify the distance and direction of the interactions between them, this paper aims to collaborate to understand the ties inside and out the peripheral and the central areas, to know: Latin America (LA) and Western Europe (WE), respectively, through comparison of their social and scientific indicators, in order to visualize their similarities and dissimilarities, also to contribute to studies of dynamics of science in these regions. These regions were chosen in order to compare their behavior, being different in its classification, once LA is a peripheral area and WE is a central one. From World Bank Indicators and Scimago JR, it was recovered the indicators: GDP per capita (US$), Researchers in R&D (per million people), Research and development expenditure - RDE (% of GDP), Human Development Index - HDI, Citable Documents, Cites per Document, Cited Documents and % of International Collaboration from 2000 to 2015. The data were classified as social and scientific indicators and their average values were organized in a spreadsheet. It was used Mann- Whitney test to compare the indicators from the areas and Pearson's correlation to analyse the association among them. Regarding the analyzed indicators, it was constructed both boxplot graphics and cluster analysis for the countries grouping, in order to verify, if the concept of centrality and geographic and social periphery of these two areas also reflects it in the scientific environment. Except for % of International Collaboration, both social and scientific indicators show much lower trends in LA in relation to WE, despite their similar behavior. The % of International Collaboration showed no difference in behavior between regions and is not correlated with any of the other analyzed indicators, meaning that this indicator is a scientific characteristic of the countries, independent of their scientific size or social or scientific infrastructure therein. Although, it is observed that in WE, the notion of centrality is not homogeneous.