Mind the Gap; April 2002; Scientific American Magazine; by Sergio Pistoi; 1 Page(s)
Science is growing faster in the European Union than in the U.S., according to recent findings by the European Commission. The report, issued as a first step toward a systematic benchmarking of European research, consists of a collection of 15 indicators related to human resources, investment and scientific productivity measured in terms of the number of scientific publications-specifically, articles, notes, reviews and letters. Whereas the number of publications in the E.U. is steadily increasing, the rate is declining in the U.S. The average annual growth has risen, on average, by 3 percent from 1995 to 1999 in the E.U., while it has essentially flatlined in the U.S. Citations for these papers (a proxy for measuring their impact) also lessened in the U.S. In 1996, the last year for which these data are available, citations were higher in the E.U. for all research fields.
"We now see that the gap is widening" in terms of the citations and the number of publications, affirms Yvan Capouet, a member of the E.U. research commissioner's cabinet. Rolf F. Lehming, program director of the division of science resources statistics at the National Science Foundation, concurs: "There has been a decline in U.S. number of publications since 1995, following years of almost linear growth."