A National Science Foundation (NSF) report shows that the US are still the world’s leaders in terms of technology and science but that China has overtaken the US in published scientific papers.
The NSF’s statistics are proving what we’ve all noticed in recent decades, that China makes rapid big steps in scientific achievement.
For example, in 2016, China published over 420,000 scientific studies, representing 19% of the international total, while the USA published around 400,000. Not a big difference, though, but still…
The competition of citations from scientific papers
Citations from scientific papers are also a subject of competition between nations. In this chapter, neither China nor the US are leading.
The most highly cited scientific publications come from Sweden, then from Switzerland, followed by the USA, the European Union, and eventually China.
Different fields, different statistics
Scientists in the US and the European Union publish more scientific works on biomedical science. On the other hand, China is leading in engineering research scientific publications, being followed by South Korea.
The US is still leading in terms of financial measures
The US is spending a little more than $490 billion on Research & Development which means 26% of the world’s total. Besides, the US brings in more than $70 million from investors.
Not far behind, there’s China. The Chinese are spending $400 billion on Research & Development while bringing in more than $30 billion in investments.
The world is changing
Science and Engineering Indicators of 2016 offer no clue on how the US can overcome China’s recent achievements, but people should know that the world is changing and the leadership on science is not so important if the scientific achievements will benefit the humankind and not only a few nations.
However, the scientific research and achievements are translated into money by the nations’ officials, therefore the competition for technology leadership and investments is still fierce.