USA 'faces increased competition from new economies'

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CC BY-SA 3.0 Addicted04 - Own work with Natural Earth Data

Clarivate Plc has released an in-depth report from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) that examines the impact of globalisation on United States research. The report emphasises the importance of continued investment and collaboration to maintain the country’s position as a leading science and technology power.

“U.S. research trends: The impact of globalization and collaboration” draws on data from the Web of Science to analyse the trajectory of U.S. research over the past 15 years. It reveals that while the U.S. remains a strong and influential player in the global research community, it faces increasing competition from new science-based economies in Asia and an expanded EU network. The report also raises important questions about how past investment has prepared the U.S. scientific enterprise to achieve its goals.

Jonathan Adams, Chief Scientist at the Institute for Scientific Information said: "The U.S. remains a leading science and technology power, but it no longer stands alone. It needs to acknowledge its shrinking domestic research capacity and work pragmatically with resourceful competitors to maintain its position.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • U.S. research investment, domestic research student numbers, and the output of research articles and reviews have not grown at the same rate as other parts of the world, resulting in increasing competition.
  • Most growth in U.S. research publication output is attributable to international collaboration, which has doubled for major traditional partners such as the United Kingdom and Germany and quadrupled with Mainland China.
  • The physical sciences and technology areas are the subjects where the U.S. has the greatest degree of international collaboration and the smallest component of purely domestic research output. Mainland China is the U.S.’s most frequent partner in technology research and is as frequent as the U.K. and Germany in physical sciences.
  • The U.S.'s research portfolio remains extensive and diverse, but its research subject diversity has declined due to the science budget expanding much faster in biomedicine than in technology areas.
  • U.S research activity is unevenly spread across the country, but the U.S. has sought to address over-concentration of its innovation and development resources by structured funding directed to areas of relatively weak research capacity.
  • The U.S. is strong but no longer dominates the research landscape as it did in the past. This is because other G7 nations are producing papers of the highest citation impact, while more U.S. papers are now of world average citation impact.

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