China overtakes US as world leader in scientific research output, ‘high impact’ studies

Tokyo: China has overtaken the US as the world leader in both scientific research output and “high impact” studies, according to a report published by Japans science and technology ministry.

The report, which was published by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTP) on Tuesday, found that China now publishes the highest number of scientific research papers yearly, followed by the US and Germany, the Guardian reported.

The figures were based on yearly averages between 2018 and 2020, and drawn from data compiled by the analytics firm Clarivate.

The Japanese NISTP report also found that Chinese research comprised 27.2 per cent of the world’s top 1 per cent most frequently cited papers.

The number of citations a research paper receives is a commonly used metric in academia.

The more times a study is cited in subsequent papers by other researchers, the greater its “citation impact”, the Guardian reported.

The US accounted for 24.9 per cent of the top 1 per cent most highly cited research studies, while UK research was third at 5.5 per cent.

China published a yearly average of 407,181 scientific papers, pulling ahead of the US’s 293,434 journal articles and accounting for 23.4 per cent of the world’s research output, the report found.

China accounted for a high proportion of research into materials science, chemistry, engineering and mathematics, while US researchers were more prolific in research into clinical medicine, basic life sciences and physics, the Guardian reported.

The report was published on the day US President Joe Biden signed the Chips and Science Act, legislation that would authorise $200 billion in research funding over 10 years to make US scientific research more competitive with China.


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