Nederland overeind in kennistop

Nieuws | de redactie
31 maart 2011 | The Royal Society laat zien hoe de kenniswereld fundamenteel aan het veranderen is. Nederland handhaaft zich in de top 10 van 'wetenschapslanden', maar de opmars van naties als India, Turkije en Iran is opmerkelijk. China is inmiddels Japan voorbij als nummer 2, stelt de Britse KNAW vast in fascinerende nieuwe cijfers.

A new group of countries, lead by China and followed by othersincluding Brazil and India, are emerging as major scientific powersto rival the traditional “scientific superpowers” of the US,Western Europe and Japan, a new report from the Royal Society hasfound.  The report also identified some rapidly emergingscientific nations not traditionally associated with a strongscience base, including Iran, Tunisia and Turkey.  

The report Knowledge, Networks and Nations:Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century analysed awide variety of data, including trends in the number of scientificpublications produced by all countries. It found that China’sgrowing share in the total number of articles published globally isnow second only to the long-time scientific world leader, theUnited States. 

Nederland in top 10

Als het gaat om de wetenschappelijke productie en de intensiteitvan de verwijzingen daarnaar is Nederland nog altijdeen toonaangevend land. In de berekeningen van de RoyalSociety is te zien dat ons land zelfs licht stijgt, maar door deopmars van China in de top 10 een plaats moest toegeven in deranking. Nederland blijft niettemin boven landen als Australië,Zwitserland en de Scandinavische kennisnaties presteren. 

TabelGlobalCitations

Citations are often used as a means of evaluating the quality ofpublications, as recognition by an author’s peers indicates thatthe scientific community value the work that has been published. Inboth time periods, the US leads the ranking, with the UK in secondplace.  However, both have a reduced share of global citationsin 2004-2008, compared to 1999-2003.  The rise of China isalso shown in the data, although the rise does not mirror therapidity of growth seen in the nation’s investment or publicationoutput.

The publication data analysed by the report showed changes inthe share of the world’s authorship of research papers between theperiods 1993-2003 and 2004-2008.  Although the USA still leadsthe world, its share of global authorship has fallen from 26% to21%. China has risen from sixth to second place, with itsshare of authorship rising from 4.4% to 10.2%.

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smithzat de Advisory Group voordeze studie vor en licht toe: “The scientific world is changing andnew players are fast appearing.  Beyond the emergence ofChina, we see the rise of South-East Asian, Middle Eastern, NorthAfrican and other nations.  The increase in scientificresearch and collaboration, which can help us to find solutions tothe global challenges we now face, is very welcome.  However,no historically dominant nation can afford to rest on its laurelsif it wants to retain the competitive economic advantage that beinga scientific leader brings.”

Steeds grotere globalisering

The publication data analysed by the report showed changes inthe share of the world’s authorship of research papers between theperiods 1993-2003 and 2004-2008.  Although the USA still leadsthe world, its share of global authorship has fallen from 26% to21%. China has risen from sixth to second place, with itsshare of authorship rising from 4.4% to 10.2%. 

The report found that science is becoming increasingly global,with research undertaken in more and more places and to a greaterextent than ever before.  In addition to the meteoric rise ofChina and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and India, the report alsoidentified a number of other rapidly emerging scientific nations,including:

•            Turkey has improved its scientificperformance at a rate to almost rival China – the R&D spend hasbeen increased nearly six-fold between 1995 and 2007, during whichtime the number of researchers increased by 43%.  Four timesas many papers with Turkish authors were published in 2008 as in1996. 

•            Iran is the fastest growing country interms of numbers of scientific publications in the world, growingfrom just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008.  The Government iscommitted to a “comprehensive plan for science”, including boostingR&D investment to 4% of GDP by 2030 (it stood at just 0.59% ofGDP in 2006).

•            Tunisia has increased the percentage ofits GDP spent on R&D from 0.03% in 1996 to 1.25% in 2009,whilst restructuring its national R&D system to create 624research units and 139 research laboratories.

•            Singapore has almost doubled its R&Dspend between 1996 and 2007 (from 1.37% to 2.61% of GDP), whilstmore than tripling (from 2620 to 8506) its scientific publicationsbetween 1996 and 2008. 

Gelet op de recente omwentelingen en protesten in de Arabischewereld en in Iran is het zeer interessant na te denkenover de relaties tussen de snelle opkomst van zulke naties enregio’s als kennissamenlevingen -ook door de demografischeomstandigheden- en de rol die jonge, hoog opgeleide en’tech-slimme’ mensen spelen in deze veranderingen.

Intensiteit van samenwerking groeit

Today over 35% of articles published in international journalsare internationally collaborative, up from 25% just fifteen yearsago. International collaboration is growing for a variety ofreasons including, most importantly, a desire to work with the bestpeople (who may be based in increasingly divergent locations) andthe growing need to collaborate on global issues, as well asdevelopments in communication technologies and cheapertravel. 

Beyond the intuitive benefits of international collaboration,the report illustrated a clear correlation between the number ofcitations per article and the number of collaborating countries (upto a tipping point of ten countries), illustrating the value ofengaging in international collaboration in terms of increasing theimpact of research.

Llewellyn zegt hier over: “Global issues, such as climatechange, potential pandemics, bio-diversity, and food, water andenergy security, need global approaches. These challenges areinterdependent and interrelated, with complicated dynamics that areoften overlooked by policies and programmes put in place to addressthem. Science has a crucial role in identifying and analysing thesechallenges, and must be considered in parallel with social,economic and political perspectives to find solutions.”


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