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U.S. Drops in Share of Publications

New analysis reveals increased globalization of science, leading to a greater proportion of patents and papers coming out of developing countries.

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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WIKIMEDIA, TOMWSULCERU.S. researchers continue to produce plenty of academic papers—to the tune of around 350,000 each year, making up nearly 28 percent of the world's share of manuscripts indexed in Thomson Reuters's Web of Science. No other individual country comes close; the entire European Union comprises another 35.5 percent of the pie. But according to Thomson Reuters's latest analysis of G20 countries, released this month, those percentages have been sliding in recent years—despite the absolute numbers of papers holding steady—thanks to upticks in output from China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, among others.

“In general, world shares for nations with mature scientific enterprises have declined and those of developing nations have risen,” the authors wrote in their report. China, for instance, has surged from producing around 6 percent of the world's scientific papers in 2003 to 14 percent in 2012.

The study also looked at the number of...

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