In a new study of scientific standing among nations, the United States leads the
world in scientific wealth, although many European countries are closing the gap.
The study published in the July 15 Nature by David King, the United
Kingdoms chief science adviser uses the number of published research
papers and their citations as a measure of scientific impact. The United States
produces more than 60 percent of the top 1 percent of the most frequently cited
papers. But the United States falls behind when comparing scientific output to
the fraction of a nations gross domestic product (GDP) spent on research.
The United Kingdom and Canada perform better in essence, getting more bang for the buck. The study suggests that cuts in government funding from 1980 to 1995 helped the United Kingdom narrow its scientific focus and build relationships with industry that are now coming to fruition (see feature). Kings study also highlights continued global inequalities in the distribution of scientific wealth, including poor scientific standing among the African countries, barring South Africa. According to Kings classification, Iran is the only Islamic country to make any appreciable scientific contribution, despite the large GDP of other Islamic countries.
"Assessing University Research, the British Way," Geotimes, September 2004
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