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China Publishes More Scientific Articles Than the U.S.

January 19, 2018

A new analysis of global science and engineering competence shows that the United States is struggling to fight off an increasingly competitive China.

The numbers: According to the National Science Foundation, China published over 426,000 research papers in 2016. America pumped out almost 409,000. If you consider the number of citations for those papers, a measure of the influence they have in the scientific community, America does better—it placed third internationally, while China comes in fifth (Sweden and Switzerland took the top spots).

Strengths elsewhere: The report does, however, note that America invests the most in R&D, attracts the most venture capital, and awards the most advanced degrees compared with every other nation in the world.

What it all means: In a statement, Maria Zuber, vice president for research at MIT, says that this all shows America’s lead “is decreasing in certain areas that are important to our country.” She adds that the trend “raises concerns about impacts on our economy and workforce, and has implications for our national security.”

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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