G20 nations' research performance revealed

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Clarivate has launched a new report that examines the research performance of each of the member countries of the G20 with a visual comparative snapshot for each nation. It also includes a special analysis of the G20 members’ Covid-19 research as indexed in the Web of Science research publication and citation index.

The report, The Annual G20 Scorecard – Research Performance 2021 has been created by the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate ahead of this year’s G20 Summit, which will be hosted virtually by Rome, Italy on 30 and 31 October. It includes  a written summary and an array of graphs and exhibits that highlight the research performance of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The report focuses on the different national responses to Covid-19 and the link to each region’s research investment and subject diversity. It finds that regions with more even research bases, especially the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, tend to support a response across a wider range of Covid-19 topics. Other G20 nations with less even research bases tend toward a more specialised response. However, one notable exception is Brazil, where a less diverse research base has responded strongly to Covid-19, reflecting the relevant strengths in its research portfolio, particularly around biosciences.

Jonathan Adams, director at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate and a co-author of the report, said: 'The G20 meeting is a crucial forum for international co-operation and it’s increasingly important to understand how the world’s leading economies are using their expertise and resources to address the world’s present and future challenges. The overall pattern in Covid-19 research that we see from our analysis is clear: as in economics, diversity in national portfolios enables a rapid and agile response. These scorecards will help policymakers, observers and reporters to understand the strengths and opportunities of G20 member nations during this global crisis and beyond.'

The national research profiles within the report are selective, highlighting chosen topics of current policy interest that identify good signals of the health of the research base for each G20 member nation. Key factors that contribute to impactful research are laid out for each nation in the report and benchmarked.

Key findings include:

  • In Australia output has doubled in a decade and continues to rise, driven by exceptional international collaboration.
  • Brazil’s output is rising both domestically and for international collaboration. Open access output is very strong across most disciplines – especially for international papers.
  • Mainland China boasts an enormous research workforce and a large volume of investment (more than two million researchers, Gross Expenditure on R&D [GERD] over 2 per cent of GDP). The domestic research base is diversifying and growing in all areas with an expanding focus on social sciences on top of its solid technology base.
  • In Germany, investment is higher than EU neighbours, with GERD over 3 per cent of GDP, while output per researcher is around G20 average. The citation impact of the research is relatively good, especially in life sciences, and it has a 14% share of the world’s top 10 per cent of papers.
  • In Italy, productivity per GERD is well above G20 average. Citation impact is good in all areas and the impact of domestic research is rising, while average performance is further boosted by international collaboration, which accounts for 55 per cent of total output.
  • Research investment in Mexico is low and continues to fall (GERD/GDP is 0.28 per cent), but rising output is boosted by high and rising productivity. Citation impact is now slowing including international collaboration.
  • Productivity in South Africa is high and output has been rising. There are consistently high levels of publication via open access across disciplines and the country has the second highest proportion of female researchers (45 per cent).
  • In South Korea, a large workforce and the highest G20 GERD/GDP (4.6 per cent) translate into strong academic output in engineering, reflecting excellent private sector funding and activity. Levels of publication via open access models are rising in all areas.
  • For the United Kingdom, the share of papers in the global top 10 per cent (16.2 per cent and rising) is the highest in the G20. International collaboration is exceptionally high, and rising, for such a large economy. The proportion of female researchers (39 per cent) is above G20 average.
  • In the United States, although investment is rising, output has plateaued, and output/researcher has fallen below the G20 average.

Joel Haspel, SVP for Strategy, Science, at Clarivate, said: 'The world’s strongest economies are clear drivers of research and innovation, which underpin the progress of society. The Institute for Scientific Information is uniquely placed to analyse and report on the comparative health of each G20 nation’s research portfolio, setting Web of Science data alongside other key metrics on people, finance and patenting to help us more deeply understand their role in addressing the many challenges our world faces – from the pandemic to climate change to gender equality. By contributing to the conversation around G20 performance, Clarivate data is continuing to accelerate innovation and help to solve the world’s most pressing problems.'

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