To determine and compare scientific performance of nations, states, institutions, and individuals, researchers can reach for a variety of measures. One can measure number of articles or total citations or citations per paper—the latter adding a qualitative component to the analysis. There are other methods, too, such as calculating changes in percentage share of articles in a journal set.

The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has just completed such an analysis focusing on scientific output of U.S. states and the District of Columbia for 1979, 1983, and 1987. The results are presented in the accompanying table and map.

For each year, the total number of indexed items for each state (articles, reviews, notes, and letters) was recorded from ISI’s online database SciSearch, which now covers more than 4,000 significant journals of science.

If a paper listed an author from a particular state, the item was counted for that state. Because...

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