More and more nations are developing science and innovation systems, with 48 countries publishing more than 1,000 journal papers in science in 2009, compared to 38 nations in 1995 – a 26 percent increase. The fastest growth in scientific output happened in North East Asia and Singapore, with the growth of research in China being exceptionally rapid.
Between 2000 and 2009, the number of science papers produced each year rose at an annual rate of 17 per cent. Research in South Korea has grown very rapidly, while Singapore and Taiwan were not far behind. These facts were reported at the 10th annual Higher Education Summit in Australia.
In East Asian research, quantity was stronger than research quality, as measured by citation impact. That is the finding of Professor Simon Marginson, a professor in the centre for the study of higher education at the University of Melbourne. As part of his research, he had compiled a list of all universities worldwide with more than 5,000 papers in the Leiden ranking (it measures the scientific performance of 500 major universities worldwide), and also more than ten per cent of those papers in the top ten per cent of their field on the basis of citations – that is, universities strong in both quantity and quality.
There were 64 US universities on the list, six from Australia, and only 12 from the whole of North East, South East and South Asia. “But as citation rates improve there will be many more Asian universities on that list in future. And Asia already has research powerhouses”, says Marginson.
China published 7.5 per cent of the world's science papers in 2006 to 2008 although it had only 3.6 per cent of the top 1 per cent most cited papers. But discipline performance was uneven: the nation was very strong in research in engineering, chemistry, materials, computing and mathematics. In the past decade there had been a phenomenal improvement in highly cited papers in those disciplines, in both China and the Asia-Eight, which includes Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. By contrast, China is still relatively weak in research in the life sciences and medicine.
University World News