China has emerged as a science superpower in the first decade of the 2000s. In the world of science, where collaborative research has become the norm, China may have a great influence over the international scientific research collaboration (ISRC) network. In this exploratory study, the author focuses on the ISRC of the Little Dragons (LDs) (i.e. South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore), which have grown into advanced economies and thus emphasise science as a facilitator of further development. Using the method of cosine similarity analysis and social network analysis, the author traces the evolutionary changes in the ISRC of the LDs and the position of China within the ISRC network from 2002 to 2012. The differences among the three LDs are discussed and implications are drawn.