WASHINGTON Nov 2 Chinese researchers have more
than doubled their output of scientific papers and now are
second only to the United States in terms of volume, according
to a report from Thomson Reuters (TRI.N) (TRI.TO) released on
The research is heavily focused on materials and technology
and shows China is poised to dominate several areas of
industry, the report finds.
"China's comparative growth is striking, far outstripping
that of the rest of the world," reads the report, available here
"And the curve seems to be showing only marginal signs of
slowing, still heading to overtake the USA itself within the
Chinese researchers published 20,000 research papers in
1998. This ballooned to nearly 112,000 in 2008, the report
found, with China passing Japan, Britain and Germany in terms
of annual output.
During the same time U.S. researchers increased output from
265,000 to 340,000 publications a year, a gain of around 30
Chinese research is concentrated in the physical sciences
and technology, especially materials science, chemistry and
"China's grip on innovative materials is likely to have
far-reaching effects. It is difficult to see developments in
industrial sectors that draw on these technologies that will
not directly or indirectly depend on the knowledge coming out
of China's research," the report reads.
"If China's research growth remains this rapid and
substantial, European and North American institutions will want
to be part of it," Jonathan Adams, director of research
evaluation at Thomson Reuters, added in a statement.
The report, based on 10,500 journals monitored by Thomson
Reuters, parent company of Reuters, notes that China has more
than 1,700 standard institutions of higher education.
"Since the Chinese economic reform started in 1978, China
has emerged from a poor developing country to become the
second-largest economy in the world after the United States of
America," the report reads.
"Already, more than half of the nation's technologies,
including atomic energy, space science, high-energy physics,
biology, computer science, and information technology, have
reached or are close to a recognizable international level of
Other high-growth areas for China, according to the report,
include agricultural sciences, immunology, microbiology, and
molecular biology and genetics.
The United States is the biggest international collaborator
with China, with 39,000 Chinese papers suggesting collaboration
with U.S. researchers, or 8.9 percent of China's total.
Japanese collaborations came next with 3 percent.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Eric Beech)