Thursday, January 03, 2013

Scientific publications by country

Click for larger image.

Judging by the numbers alone, China needs only 10 or 20 years to catch up with the US. But of course it takes a long time to build a high quality scientific tradition and infrastructure, so this is probably an underestimate.

The collapse of Russia is very sad.

Anglosphere still dominant, both in quantity and quality, normalized to population. Highly cited papers metric probably a bit biased toward these countries, but even correcting for that the previous comment stands.


Jan Dahl said...

What about as compared per capita or by GDP?

5371 said...

Worth noting that the US was still far behind Germany as a scientific power for at least 30 years after it had become the world's greatest economic one.

George Shen said...

Three reactions - 1) I suppose the U.S. number includes the publications by authors from all over the world who are studying and doing researches in the U.S. and therefore it's inflated. For instance, in STEM fields, some of these researchers and scientists may return to home countries. Many other countries' numbers (e.g. China) may be lower than what they should be. 2) Since China here is Mainland, what about HongKong? Maybe missing a piece of pie here. Many HK universities are very good. Several are ranked higher than the top schools in mainland (by UK media mostly). These ranks should reflect publication so HK's number should be decent but missing from this picture. 3). Israel's number is surprisingly low. so is India's.

Bobdisqus said...

The Canadians seem to be punching over their weight. I think perhaps the Canadian immigration policy
might explain some of that HK shortfall that George points out. I think someone better forward this on to Don
Cherry with the hockey lockout he doesn’t have much to talk about, and he loves
the superiority of good Canadian boys.

esmith said...

Another interesting pattern emerges if you try to translate this into publications per capita.

If you normalize the U.S. publication per capita ratio to 1 (which puts Germany at 1.01 and France at 0.88), there are two clusters of countries where the ratio is significantly greater than 1.

One is Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Denmark is on top with 2.23, Sweden is at 2.04, Norway is at 1.88.

The other is Australia (1.79), New Zealand (1.64), and Singapore (1.76)

The only countries outside the usual "Anglosphere"/"First world" with significant ratios are Taiwan (1.01), South Korea (0.83), Singapore, Israel (1.36), and Czech Republic (0.80).

Japan is in a clear decline, with 0.53 and falling. South Korea is doing very well, with 0.83 and quickly rising.

Don't be sad about Russia. All the scientists are still around, they are just contributing to other countries' stacks :)

kotakoti said...

How many of these are science and mathematics papers vs social sciences. Should a psychology paper detailing some rats running through a maze have the same weight as a physics paper using 10 million + worth of equipment to perform a experiment?

Also the reason why Asian studies get cited less is because most of them are written in their native languages. Only popular papers get translated. There are a lot more East asians that can read and write English with a high enough level of comprehension to understand a physics paper than Europeans capable of reading and comprehending Japanese.

gide07 said...

"The collapse of Russia is very sad." Love that free market."

Robert Sykes said...

A very good point. Ohio State University is nowadays a branch campus of the University of Beijing. I'd bet most of the B1G, Pac 12, Big 12, SEC and ACC are, too.

Also, to China's long-term advantage, as the US becomes more like Mexico, its publication rate will decline, along with the quality of its graduate programs. By then, China will be self-sufficient in graduate schools.

David Backus said...

On: "the collapse of Russia is very sad." I'd ask whether this is about the location or the scientists and their work. Are they still working in other places? If so, maybe that's a good thing. My sense is that American universities have been great beneficiaries of talent from abroad, from Russia over the last thirty years, from Germany before that, etc. Could this international competition for talent be a good thing? Could your work at BGI be an example?

enoon said...

is it really any surprise that India's numbers are so low?

esmith said...

I am an alumnus of an elite Russian university with strong emphasis on physics (think Caltech). I heard that, in the early 90's, 15-20% of students went to work abroad after graduating. (Almost all others left academic science altogether, going into business or IT.) By my time (late 90's), the percentage of emigrants was a bit lower, but it was still understood that every talented student would try to land a PhD position in a Western university. I was in a particularly strong group with an emphasis on theoretical physics. I ended up working in IT in the States, but more than half of the people I personally knew, and 4 out of 5 of my former roommates, ended up here. (By the way, the ones I talked to were very unhappy about the way science "worked" here and about the absence of academic freedom.)

The bad part of this transformation is the degradation of Soviet educational system. Since talented students were leaving the country or leaving science, this meant that old-school professors were dying and there weren't enough people of equal caliber to take their place.

Stephen Hsu said...

MIPT? :-)

Hacienda said...

"The collapse of Russia is very sad."


Robert Buttons said...

Looks strikingly similar to the data from "IQ and the wealth of nations"

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