Field of Science

We're number one! We're number five?

Ah yes, in these days of USA exceptionalism, it’s not considered nice to point out areas where the USA is not #1. Here’s a chart that shows the top 40 countries in terms of scientific publications, and that’s a very big circle for the USA, the biggest in fact, so we’re number 1 in scientific publication! Yea!
Not so fast now, grasshopper. When analyzing data you need to think about how the data being reported might be biased. Some other countries have some pretty big bubbles of publication too. To figure out how well a country is doing in science let’s compare scientific output on a per capita basis, that is, on the basis of population. This will give a better idea of the importance of science in that particular country. So who’s number one when you do that? Australia! Down under published 169 papers for every 100,000 of population. United Kingdom is 2nd with 144.5 publications per 100,000 people and Canada 3d with 144 publications per 100,000 people. See the importance of getting that other half paper published? Germany comes in 4th with 101 publications per 100,000 people, and then the USA is fifth with 99 publications per 100,000 people. It’s probably all those illegal aliens pulling the average down, or maybe the anti-science attitude prevailing in politics. And look where the largest growth occurred in scientific publication – Iran. Clearly the Phactor did not have a big impact on the results, but a factor he was. Oh people better watch out in 2012 because the Phactor just got page proofs asking for a 2 day turn around (they got hopes). Image from
Nature News.


Anonymous said...

How curious that about Iran. I wonder what kind of research they do. It would also be nice to see some chart about impact factors per capita. (Although impact factors are some way biased)

The Phytophactor said...

What about: impact factors per capita?
IFs are biased toward 1st world countries as you might expect, but in general, based on my data points, which are manuscripts & papers sent to me, the quality is fine, but the subjects and technigues local and out of date.