5 September 2011

US Publishing Dominance?

I ran across this data on science publications by country from the World Bank.


Some quick thoughts:

  • It seems that the EU, contrary to popular wisdom, has maintained a slight lead over the US as the academic science publishing centre for a bit more than a decade.
  • Of course the US (pop. ~ 307 million) is still publishing above its population adjusted weight relative to the EU (pop. ~ 501 million).
  • However, assuming that universities are places where resources are transfered from teaching (i.e. students) to research and given the incredible rise in US student debt (see my previous post) I would have expected to see a larger increase in US publications because presumably US universities would have more resources. Of course there are many different reasons that student debt can increase without an increase in university resources, but an essentially flat absolute number of publications over the entire period is kind of strange. 
  • Finally, what countries are producing the big gains in total global publications? It doesn't seem to be any of the those in the graph.

2 comments:

PinskVinsk said...

Regarding the countries (other than India, China, and the US) that are producing the gains in research...South Korea? Singapore? Japan? Given that it's science and tech, rather than arts and social science, I would guess that's where all the publishing is coming from.

Christopher Gandrud said...

Oddly, none of those countries individually seem to have had very big increases. Maybe just a lot of emerging market economies are adding a bit to the cumulative number of publications.