China becomes global leader in research output, outranking US
Newly-released statistics demonstrate that China has now outranked the US and Germany for the most output of scientific research.
According to a report released by Japan’s science and technology ministry, the numbers show that China has overpowered the US as the world leader in both scientific research output and “high impact” studies.
China outranks US and Germany
Not only has the report found that China publishes the highest number of scientific research papers annually, followed by the US and Germany, but it also concluded that Chinese research comprises 27.2% of the world’s top 1% of most frequently cited papers. The US, however, accounted for 24.9% of frequently cited research papers.
A commonly used metric in academia, the higher number of citations a research paper receives and the more times a study is cited in subsequent papers by other researchers, the larger its “citation impact” and thus credibility.
China published an annual average of 407,181 scientific papers – contributing to 23.4% of the world’s research output. On the other hand, the US produces an average of 293,434 papers, a little less than half of what China produces.
There is an underlying difference between both competitors: China excels in research concerning materials science, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics, as opposed to the US in clinical medicine, basic life sciences, and physics.
Report released the day Biden signs legislative act
The day the Japanese report was published was the same day US president Joe Biden signed the Chips and Science Act – a legislation authorizing $200 billion in research funding over the next 10 years to make US scientific research on a competition level with China.
This led to even further tension as the Chinese embassy in the US later disclosed that China was “firmly opposed” to the legislative act which it considered as being “entrenched in [a] cold war and zero-sum game mentality”.
On the other hand, Shinichi Kuroki of the Japan Science and Technology Agency told Nikkei Asia, “China is one of the top countries in the world in terms of both the quantity and quality of scientific papers,”, adding: “In order to become the true global leader, it will need to continue producing internationally recognized research.”