Seismology has several features that suggest it is a highly internationalized field: the subject matter is global, the tools
used to analyse seismic waves are dependent upon information technologies, and governments are interested in funding cooperative
research. We explore whether an emerging field like seismology has a more internationalised structure than the older, related
field of geophysics. Using aggregated journal-journal citations, we first show that, within the citing environment, seismology
emerged from within geophysics as its own field in the 1990s. The bibliographic analysis, however, does not show that seismology
is more internationalised than geophysics: in 2000, seismology had a lower percentage of all articles co-authored on an international
basis. Nevertheless, social network analysis shows that the core group of cooperating countries within seismology is proportionately
larger and more distributed than that within geophysics. While the latter exhibits an established network with a hierarchy,
the formation of a field in terms of new partnership relations is ongoing in seismology.
Based on the Science Citation Index-Expanded web-version, the USA is still by far the strongest nation in terms of scientific
performance. Its relative decline in percentage share of publications is largely due to the emergence of China and other Asian
nations. In 2006, China has become the second largest nation in terms of the number of publications within this database.
In terms of citations, the competitive advantage of the American “domestic market” is diminished, while the European Union
(EU) is profiting more from the enlargement of the database over time than the USA. However, the USA is still outperforming
all other countries in terms of highly cited papers and citation/publication ratios, and it is more successful than the EU
in coordinating its research efforts in strategic priority areas like nanotechnology. In this field, the People’s Republic
of China (PRC) has become second largest nation in both numbers of papers published and citations behind the USA.