For scientists, publishing in great quantity can be a sign of productivity or of striving to please the "paper counters" who sometimes serve on grant and promotion committees. Mere output, for individuals, is not always the mark of achievement—and the same goes for states.
The Scientist recently surveyed the scientific output of America's 50 states and the District of Columbia and found Illinois, Maryland, and Louisiana the big winners for the period 1979-1987. These three boosted their share of scientific papers published in over 3,000 top-flight scientific journals (those indexed in the Institute for Scientific Information's Science Citation Index) by 1.5%, .9%, and .8%, respectively (see The Scientist, July 25, page 18). Texas and Delaware increased their shares by .5%, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Washington, and Arizona boosted theirs by +.4%, and California and Florida increased theirs by +.3%.
But an examination of impact, as measured...
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