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.

Michael Heylin, the editor-at-large of the journal Chemical & Engineering News, says the number of published U.S. scientific papers has been eroding since the 1990s, despite big increases in research and development funding and in the number of researchers.

Writing in his journal's Nov. 27 issue, Heylin notes the National Science Foundation has launched a special study to find explanations for the stagnation in U.S. research and development publications -- a key indicator of scientific activity.

Heylin documents above-average global growth in publications growth in China and selected Asian and Western European nations.

Although the United States remains the largest single national source of research papers by a large margin, Heylin says an NSF ranking of 157 nations puts the United States 12th in terms of scientific papers published per million population.

The top 6 producers of scientific papers are Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Denmark and Netherlands.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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