China rockets to second in science publications (Update)

March 28, 2011
The sun rises in Beijing. China has rocketed into second place in the number of articles published in international science magazines, according to a report released Monday by the Royal Society in London.

China has rocketed into second place in the number of articles published in international science magazines, according to a report released Monday by the Royal Society in London.

While the top 10 is filled with major Western powers, their share of research papers published is falling, while nations such as China, Brazil and India are growing.

Also on the rise, but further behind, are Iran and Turkey.

China shot up from sixth place in the period 1999-2003 (4.4 percent of the total) to second place behind the United States with 10.2 percent over the years 2004-08, overtaking Japan.

The United States remained in the top spot, but has seen its share shrink from 26.4 percent to 21.2 percent.

Britain remained third with its share at 6.5 percent, down from 7.1 percent.

Japan had slipped from second to fourth place, falling from 7.8 percent to 6.1 percent, said the report.

Germany, in fifth place, published six percent, down from seven percent, while France, in sixth, published 4.4 percent, down from five percent.

They were followed by Canada, Italy, Spain and India, which pushed Russia out of the top 10, moving up from 13th position.

"China's rise up the rankings has been especially striking," said the report.

"China has heavily increased its investment in R&D (research and development), with spending growing by 20 percent per year since 1999 to reach over $100 billion a year today," it continued.

That came to 1.44 percent of the country's GDP in 2007), it added.

"China is also turning out huge numbers of science and engineering graduates, with 1.5 million leaving its universities in 2006," the report added.

While Britain's share of articles published was down, the Royal Society last week welcomed British finance minister George Osborne's promise of another £100 million (114 million euros, $160 million) of capital investment in science.

Turkey's improved scientific performance had been almost as dramatic as China's, the report said, noting that it had declared research a public priority in the 1990s.

The country had increased its research and development nearly six-fold between 1995 and 2007, and during the same period, the number of researchers there had increased by 43 percent.

Iran was the fastest-growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications, rising from 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008.

"The scientific world is changing and new players are fast appearing," said Chris Llewellyn Smith, who chaired the study at the Royal Society, Britain's national science academy.

"Beyond the emergence of China, we see the rise of southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, north African and other nations.

"The increase in scientific research and collaboration, which can help us to find solutions to the global challenges we now face, is very welcome.

"However, no historically dominant nation can afford to rest on its laurels if it wants to retain the competitive economic advantage that being a scientific leader brings."

The Royal Society's findings were published in its report entitled "Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century".

Explore further: Report: U.S. R&D publications decline

Related Stories

Report: U.S. R&D publications decline

November 27, 2006

A science editor says the U.S. share of scientific papers published worldwide in peer-reviewed science and engineering journals is declining.

Shrinking glaciers threaten China

November 2, 2007

China's glaciers in western Xinjiang Uygur region are shrinking alarmingly due to global and regional warming, posing a threat to the oases in the area.

China leads Asia in research: UN

November 9, 2010

Asia, led by China, is fast challenging America, Europe and Japan in spending on scientific research and development but still lags on key criteria of inventiveness, according to a UN report to be published on Wednesday.

US will no longer dominate science and research

February 18, 2011

A shift in the global research landscape will reposition the United States as a major partner, but not the dominant leader, in science and technology research in the coming decade, according to a Penn State researcher. However, ...

Recommended for you

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

Search for Egypt's Nefertiti gains new momentum (Update)

September 29, 2015

The search for ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti in an alleged hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb gained new momentum as Egypt's Antiquities Minister said Tuesday he is now more convinced a queen's tomb may lay hidden behind ...

New finds of a living fossil

October 2, 2015

The coelacanth fish, found today in the Indian Ocean, is often called a 'living fossil' because its last ancestors existed about 70 million years ago and it has survived into the present - but without leaving any fossil remains ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (10) Mar 28, 2011
If this means more science is done and we may be entering a "science race" with increased spending on science , then I'm all in favour of it.
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
If this means more science is done and we may be entering a "science race" with increased spending on science , then I'm all in favour of it.

With the rate this country is going..."We spending too much money, let's cut Planned Parenthood, Disability Aid, and...oh yeah! How could we forget! EDUCATION!"

I'm all in favor of it, but less hopeful we'll win the race...
5 / 5 (8) Mar 28, 2011
I think it would be wise not to view it as a race... maybe not even viewing things in percentages of who receives credit for what.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Isaac Newton

Science is a team effort, we build off of each other's discoveries. Come on people, lets grow up.
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
If America had a program to let international students with science degrees stay in the country, then there'd be a lot more smart people in USA. But then the average American would just say "they stealing our jobs"
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
I agree - this is a good thing because there needs to be more competition in science. More competition means there will be more innovation and better results.
2 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2011
Isn't it because they have been reverse engineering everything ever made... even re-coding Windows to create a domestic version.
Not to mention unscrupulous methods to obtain information.
Not to mention that everything is being manufactured there it's hard not to realize that IP will be stolen and copied as it is..

P.S. that's what happens when there is a drift to theology rather than science... knowledge is lost and bunked in place of theological principals. 8-)
5 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2011
Chinese academia are notorious for plagiarism.

Over 31% of submissions to the National Natural Science Foundation of China English-language publications show signs of copying, self-plagiarism, or copyright infringement, according to Helen Zhang, journal director at the Zhejiang University Press in China.
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Here's another one from USA Today. Plagiarism epidemic shuts down U.S. program in China.
It's not uncommon for colleges to discontinue academic programs overseas for financial reasons. But Centenary College, in New Jersey, is shutting down an M.B.A. program in Asia to contain a plagiarism epidemic. About 400 students are currently enrolled in the program at locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan.

"The college is extremely concerned with the welfare of the Chinese students involved in the program, but must note that its review revealed evidence of widespread plagiarism among other issues, at a level that ordinarily would have resulted in students' immediate dismissal from the college," Debra Albanese, Centenary's vice president for strategic advancement, said in a statement. "Despite that, in an effort to afford students every fair possibility, the college has opted to attempt to reach an amicable solution, in lieu of any such dismissal....
5 / 5 (4) Mar 29, 2011
I too am glad that there are more scientists working all over the world today, and I don't think that it represents a threat to our lifestyle. What it means is that more people are working on solutions to the many real problems our world faces. You can be sure that China will be working on how to generate clean energy and how to feed a billion people well without destroying the world to do it. These are technologies that benefit all mankind. My impression is that the Chinese will not be afraid to aggressively develop anti aging therapy, an area that some people in America seem to feel is immoral for some reason.

The policies that all governments should foster are increased collaboration and sharing of knowledge. The main thing we need to avoid is an 'arms race' mentality, and fears that the increasing wealth and capabilities of other nations only means our 'demise'. Technology can and must be used to increase the well being of all people, never just to maintain a position of power.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2011
In this race dear Americans there are only winners. But of course when a country fails to invest in education and science, a similar thing happens like with companies that fail to innovate their product..
3 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
In this race dear Americans there are only winners. But of course when a country fails to invest in education and science, a similar thing happens like with companies that fail to innovate their product..

Fails to invest?


Uh, no sorry. We spend almost twice what Japan spends as a percent of GDP and they are SMOKING us....

We need more quality...not quantity.
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011

We need more quality...not quantity.

What we really need is incentive. Not monetary incentive, but some sort of interest on the basic level. Throwing money at a group of people who learn something because they have to isn't going to advance our knowledge in that area of expertise. Actually this is visible in the school system in the United States. Washington DC spends more money per student than most other states, yet it consistently scores below the national average in every area (http://nces.ed.go...;s1=11). Funding can't magically conjure up intellectual proficiency.
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011

Sorry, the link didn't work.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.