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This paper analyses the evolution of Spanish communication research published as scientific articles between 1980 and 2010. It quantifies the volume of this production with two different samples: the first sample includes national journals and offers original and unprecedented data; the second one includes international journals, defined as those indexed by the Web of Science. As a whole, more than 6,000 articles were analysed. Additionally, the collaboration patterns in authorship and internationality were also studied. On the one hand, collaboration was measured through indicators of multiple authorship and the evolution of coauthorship indexes. On the other hand, internationality was measured through the share of Spanish authors in international journals, the weight of international collaborations and the language used in national journals. Data obtained illustrate a growth and maturity process of communication as a scientific discipline: at the end of the period analysed, a tension between growing collaboration and internationalization and traditional publication patterns was found. Through the period studied, the birth of new faculties with communication studies and the growing number of journals have feed the own growth of the number of articles. However, other elements such as scientific assessment have also played a role in the internationalization of authors. As a whole, this article offers a first image of the evolution of communication as an academic discipline in Spain.