A well-established agenda on the research output, impact, and structure of global scientific elites such as Nobel Prize laureates has generated interest in the scientific elites from developing countries. However, this topic has not been investigated in detail. This study, first, deploys science mapping techniques to provide a comprehensive analysis of the output, impact, and structure of the Colombian scientific elite, i.e., researchers awarded with the Alejandro Ángel Escobar Foundation National Prize 1990-2020, known locally as the Colombian Nobel. Second, we conducted a productivity and impact comparison between the Colombian scientific elite and Nobel Prize laureates in science and economics by means of a stratified random sample 1990-2020 via the composite citation indicator proposed by Ioannidis et al. Findings showed that the Colombian scientific elite has a broader agenda than indexing titles in internationally renowned bibliographic databases. The Colombian scientific elite also showed positive growth, which is an inverse trend compared with the sample of Nobel laureate productivity. There were no noticeable changes in productivity/impact before and after receiving the Alejandro Ángel Escobar Foundation National Prize. Institutional collaboration within the Colombian scientific elite displayed the highest betweenness (brokerage) role of world/local top-tier universities. However, only two Colombian scientific elite members published an article with two Nobel Prize laureates. Most of the research profiles reflected the national output priorities, but were found to diverge from the national focus in respect of strategic research capacities. The interleaving of the Colombian scientific elite and Nobel Prize laureates-particularly between the 3rd and 2nd quartiles-enabled a more nuanced analysis of the local impact in the global scientific landscape. Our findings also contrast with previous findings on the lower research impact of authors from Latin America, despite their involvement as contributors to reputable journals, and also shed light on the research performance-impact standards and agenda between the global North and South and provide an in-context assessment of outstanding local research.

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The Colombian scientific elite-Science mapping and a comparison with Nobel Prize laureates using a composite citation indicator

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