This exploratory work sheds light on important functional information characteristics of the system of research collaboration by examining large-scale topological structures of co-authorship networks, created through the affiliative ties of scholarly articles published by collaborating researchers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. The model adopted in this work to understand the underlying collaboration system incorporates the strengths of collaborative coupling among the researchers. The questions we examine in this work are as follows: (1) What new functional characteristics emerge when combined structural effects of collaborative coupling and large-scale connectivity exist in the networks? (2) What information does a specific closeness distribution of collaborating researchers convey with regard to the flow of knowledge through collaborative activities? (3) What is the temporal dynamics of large-scale structure formation in these networks? The work involves a comparative study of these characteristics using the networks of two countries: India and the US. Our results have important implications for scientometric studies of collaboration research. © 2014, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.