Science papers per country

Andre points us to SciImago — a Web site to mine science journals. Using their aggregates per country and some data from Wikipedia, I made up a table on number of science papers produced per country going back to 1996.

CountryScience papers (1996-2006)Population (current)Papers per capita
US3,437,213303,202,6830.011
Japan983,020127,718,0000.0077
UK962,64060,587,3000.015
Germany888,28782,251,0000.010
China758,0421,323,128,2400.00057
France640,16364,102,1400.010
Canada473,76333,148,6820.014
Italy461,29259,206,3820.0077
Spain330,39945,116,8940.0073
India286,1091,131,043,0000.00025
Sweden194,9219,174,0820.021
Switzerland188,1347,508,7000.025
Israel120,2577,222,2220.0166
Norway70,3144,738,0850.015

What is fascinating is that the picture changes dramatically if you just look at the most recent year (2006):

CountryScience papers (2006)Population (current)Papers per capita
US340,268303,202,6830.0011
China166,2051,323,128,2400.000125
UK107,52860,587,3000.0018
Japan97,073127,718,0000.00076
Germany95,31082,251,0000.0012
France67,65264,102,1400.0011
Canada56,57133,148,6820.0017
Italy54,29859,206,3820.0009
Spain41,91445,116,8940.0009
India38,1401,131,043,000tiny
Switzerland22,9667,508,7000.003
Sweden20,9269,174,0820.002
Israel13,0497,222,2220.0018
Norway8,6704,738,0850.0018

These numbers suggest some significant changes:

  • The US is still leading in the number of papers produced, but it no longer dominates. And it may not lead for many more decades if China keeps this up.
  • Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Italy are improving their per capita numbers.
  • Switzerland has a surprisingly high number of papers per capita.
  • Japan has a surprisingly low number of papers per capita.
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6 thoughts on “Science papers per country”

  1. This is an unequal comparison – you cannot compare one years scientific publication total & current population with 10 years of publication and the _current_ population – the figure would need to be an aggregate of the publication ratio per capita per year now (averaged over 10) to produce a valid comparison.

    Otherwise you are just saying: look! here’s how many people today would publish per person if they had been publishing for ten years in the space of one year, vs. Look, here’s how many we actually publish in one year!

    M.

  2. Japan a surprisingly small number? I’m not sure they have included all the local publications! It’s more a problem of their database than a problem of Japan.

    Also, I am very skeptical of claims that more publications corresponds to more science. More publications given the same amount of intelligence corresponds to more bullshit.

  3. Per capita data is not important. It is not about money. Papers reflect the whole country. Big population has some advantage.

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