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Abstract  

The term “European Paradox” describes the perceived failure of the EU to capture full benefits of its leadership of science as measured by publications and some other indicators. This paper investigates what might be called the “American Paradox,” the decline in scientific publication share of the U.S. despite world-leading investments in research and development (R&D) — particularly as that decline has accelerated in recent years. A multiple linear regression analysis was made of which inputs to the scientific enterprise are most strongly correlated with the number of scientific papers produced. Research investment was found to be much more significant than labor input, government investment in R&D was much more significant than that by industry, and government non-defense investment was somewhat more significant than its defense investment. Since the EU actually leads the U.S. in this key component, this could account for gradual loss of U.S. paper share and EU assumption of leadership of scientific publication in the mid-1990s. More recently the loss of U.S. share has accelerated, and three approaches analyzed this phenomenon: (1) A companion paper shows that the SCI database has not significantly changed to be less favorable to the U.S.; thus the decline is real and is not an artifact of the measurement methods. (2) Budgets of individual U.S. research agencies were correlated with overall paper production and with papers in their disciplines. Funding for the U.S. government civilian, non-healthcare sector was flat in the last ten years, resulting in declining share of papers. Funding for its healthcare sector sharply increased, but there were few additional U.S. healthcare papers. While this inefficiency contributes to loss of U.S. share, it is merely a specific example of the general syndrome that increased American investments have not produced increased publication output. (3) In fact the decline in publication share appears to be due to rapidly increasing R&D investments by China, Taiwan, S. Korea, and Singapore. A model shows that in recent years it is a country’s share of world investment that is most predictive of its publication share. While the U.S. has increased its huge R&D investment, its investment share still declined because of even more rapidly increasing investments by these Asian countries. This has likely led to their sharply increased share of scientific publication, which must result in declines of shars of others — the U.S. and more recently, the EU.

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Scientometrics
Authors:
Robert Shelton
,
Patricia Foland
, and
Roman Gorelskyy

Abstract  

National shares of worldwide publications in the Science Citation Index (SCI) have shifted recently. The long-term decline in U.S. share accelerated in the mid-1990s, and now the EU has joined this decline. Not coincidentally, the shares of some countries have increased sharply, particularly those of China, S. Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. Since the SCI constantly adds new journals, one reason might be that newly added journals were more favorable to them. To test this, the database was partitioned into “old journals” (added before 1995) and “new journals,” added afterward. The analysis was done for eight of the 20 fields of science defined by the National Science Indicator CD. In some fields, new journals were indeed much more favorable to the Asians. In some fields, however, new journals were actually more favorable to the U.S. In aggregate over the eight fields analyzed, the size of this effect was too small to account for much of the sharp changes in national shares. Furthermore tests between old and new journals find that differences in most fields are not statistically significant. The results provide evidence that the SCI can be used to accurately track national publication changes over time.

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Abstract

Both the United States and the European Union have set goals for worldwide leadership of science and technology. While the U. S. leads in most input quantitative indicators, output indicators may be more specific for determining present leadership. They show that the EU has taken the lead in important metrics and is challenging the U. S. in others. Qualitative indicators of fields of research and development, based on expert review studies organized by the authors, confirm that many EU labs are equal or better than those in the U. S.

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