Asia catching up with Europe on research output

Thanks to economic growth and increasing research funding the Asian nations, led by China, are catching up with Europe and the US in terms of the number of science publications produced.

A report published by Science Watch, a newsletter tracking trends and performance in basic research, shows that Asian nations will in a few years beat Europe and the United States in scientific output. One of the reasons is the strong economic growth of the region, which has resulted in significant increases in research funding. 

Europe produced 38% of world’s scientific papers in 2004, the US 33% and the Asia-Pacific nations – China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan at the head – 25% (compared to 16% in 1990). While Europe is the world leader in numbers of scientific publications produced, the US still produces more papers per researcher than Europe, and with greater impact. 

As to the recent announcement by the French government that it is launching ‘competitiveness clusters’ (see EURACTIV 14 July 2005) to boost industrial innovation, French scientists have expressed concern that politicians are favouring applied research at the expense of basic research.

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