Thursday, March 31, 2011

China's Rise in Scientific Publication

1. The study was conducted by the Royal Society, Britain's national scientific academy.

2. Elsevier provided financial support and full access to their publication databases and analytical services throughout the study. This information was not included in the article, but could be found within the Royal Society's published report, Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century, which is referenced in the article.

3. The results of this study indicate a shift in dominance over scientific publication (this particular article specifically focuses on China's increase and the United States' and United Kingdoms' decreases in shares of publications). The decrease in shares that these findings illustrate could encourage support for more international research efforts and more funding for scientific research in general (and thus encourage a drive towards producing more scientific publications). Within their official published report of the study, the Royal Society recommended that “support for international science should be maintained and strengthened.” These results would thus appear to be very beneficial for Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific information.

4. Only a small amount of information on methodology was included in the article, specifically referring to how countries were ranked on the quality of their scientific publications. The article stated that the Royal Society measured how often each country's scientific papers were cited by other researchers and that this was a “means of evaluating the quality of publications.”

5. The general results of the study were communicated in a fairly straightforward manner but it could have been helpful to include visual representation through graphs or charts in the article. There were also some instances where the comparative statistics could have been communicated more clearly in the article:The United States was in first place in both time periods, but its share of publications dropped from more than one in four to about one in five. The United Kingdom held steady in third place, but its share dropped from 7.1% to 6.5%..." The article compares the two countries clearly on the basis of rank (first place for the U.S. and third place for the United Kingdom), but communicates the actual share of publications differently for each country (using percentages for the United Kingdom and ratios for the United States).

A table such as this (from the The Telegraph) seems to clearly communicate the same results in a better fashion: In this table one can directly see the rankings of each country and their respective shares of publications.

6. No graphs were used in the article.


Article Title: China shoots up rankings as science power, study finds

Author: Richard Allen Greene
Source: CNN
Date of Publication: March 29, 2011

Report used in the article:
Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century

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