China will soon surpass the US as the country that publishes the most scientific papers—-meaning that, some say, China is well on its well to leaving the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, and many other countries in the dust when it comes to scientific endeavors and research. According to the Guardian, China is currently only second to the US now and will be the dominant publisher of scientific papers by 2013, a report by the Royal Society says. Further, the ‘traditional superpowers of science’ are being challenged more and more by those from the ‘world’s emerging economies,’ including Iran, Tunisia, and Turkey, as well as South Korea and India.
The Royal Society counted papers that had an abstract in English and that had appeared in peer reviewed journals. The report found that, from 1993-2003 and 2004-2008
the US dominated the world’s science, but its share of publications dropped from 26% to 21%. China’s share rose from 4.4% to 10.2%. The UK’s share declined from 7.1% to 6.5% of the world’s papers.
The BBC also notes China’s rise in the area of science publishing:
In 1996, the first year of the analysis, the US published 292,513 papers - more than 10 times China’s 25,474.
By 2008, the US total had increased very slightly to 316,317 while China’s had surged more than seven-fold to 184,080.
Previous estimates for the rate of expansion of Chinese science had suggested that China might overtake the US sometime after 2020.
But this study shows that China, after displacing the UK as the world’s second leading producer of research, could go on to overtake America in as little as two years’ time.
China, says the BBC, has increased spending on science by 10% since 1999 and now spends over $100 billion on science. In 2006, China’s schools graduated as many as 1.5 million science and engineering students. […]