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The countries with the biggest share of academic citations
Science is becoming bigger and more global. That, at least, is the conclusion of a report published by Britain's Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific academy. Emerging scientific nations are gaining influence, as measured by how often their researchers get cited in peer-reviewed journals. China and Spain, with 4% and 3% of global citations in 2004-2008, respectively, pushed Australia and Switzerland out of the top ten for the previous five years.
Countries like the United States and Britain retain the most clout, though. Together they still account for 38% of global citations in 2004-2008, down from 45% in the previous five years. Boffins the world over are also citing more eagerly, on average, than they used to. Citations grew by 55% between 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. Meanwhile, the number of published papers grew by just 33%. The growth in citations could be partly down to an increase in the proportion of published papers that are the product of international collaboration to 35% of the total, up from 25% 15 years ago.
In addition to the meteoric rise of China and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and India, the report also identified a number of other rapidly emerging scientific nations, including:
● Turkey has improved its scientific performance at a rate to almost rival China – the R&D spend has been increased nearly six-fold between 1995 and 2007, during which time the number of researchers increased by 43%. Four times as many papers with Turkish authors were published in 2008 as in 1996.
● Iran is the fastest growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications in the world, growing from just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008. The Government is committed to a “comprehensive plan for science”, including boosting R&D investment to 4% of GDP by 2030 (it stood at just 0.59% of GDP in 2006).
● Tunisia has increased the percentage of its GDP spent on R&D from 0.03% in 1996 to 1.25% in 2009, whilst restructuring its national R&D system to create 624 research units and 139 research laboratories.
● Singapore has almost doubled its R&D spend between 1996 and 2007 (from 1.37% to 2.61% of GDP), whilst more than tripling (from 2620 to 8506) its scientific publications between 1996 and 2008.
● Qatar, which has a relatively small population of just over 1.4m and a current GDP of $128 billion, aims to spend 2.8% of GDP on research by 2015, giving a potential per capita GERD (gross expenditure on R&D) of $2,474.
The full report can be looked at here.