Chapter 2 of this volume discusses the human capital outputs of higher education in S&E. The present chapter focuses on the S&E functions of U.S. colleges and universities, including funding and performance, physical infrastructure, and human capital devoted to R&D. This section examines the intellectual output of academic S&E research using indicators derived from formal research articles and U.S. patent data.
Researchers have traditionally published the results of their work in the world's peer-reviewed S&E journals, and article-level data from these journals are used here to explore total S&E research output by countries and—within the United States—by sectors of the economy. These so-called bibliometric data are also useful for tracking trends in S&E research collaboration using coauthorship measures between and among departments, institutions, sectors, and countries. (See sidebar "Bibliometric Data and Terminology.") Finally, citations in more current research articles to previous research offer insight into the importance and impact of previous research.
The 2008 edition of Indicators (NSB 2008) focused attention throughout these bibliometric indicators on three large geographic units: the United States, the 27 members of the European Union, and a group of 10 fast-growing countries in Asia. This edition adjusts that particular organization of the data to focus instead on five S&E article-producing countries/regions that together account for more than four-fifths of the world total: the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, and eight countries/economies together referred to as the "Asia-8" (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand).
S&E researchers publish the results of their work in the peer-reviewed literature, and symbolic payment for their work is a citation to their article when it is used by future researchers (see Merton 1973). This recognition is uniquely valuable inside the scientific community, where it can be critical to career advancement, and does not necessarily reflect the value society might place on particular scientific findings.
In contrast, when researchers file for patent protection for a practical advance over "prior art" and the claim is granted in a successful patent, the patent owner obtains certain rights to the potential value of the advance. This chapter uses the patenting activities of U.S. academic institutions as another type of indicator of the outputs of academic S&E research. (Chapter 6, "Industry, Technology, and the Global Marketplace," discusses patenting by other sectors in "Global Trends in Patenting.") Because citations to the S&E literature in successful patents indicate the use of past research in practical advances, literature/patent linkage data illuminate patterns of the impacts of academic S&E research on potential technological development.
Between 1995 and 2007, the total world S&E article output
as contained in the journals tracked by the Science Citation
Index (SCI) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI),
which are analyzed in this chapter, grew at an average annual
rate of 2.5% (table
Growth in S&E article output across these five countries/regions has been uneven. Twelve-year growth rates in the
mature economies of the U.S. (0.7%), Japan (1.0%), and the
European Union (1.9%) have been lower than in the rapidly
growing economies of the Asia-8 (9.0%) and China (16.5%)
Exactly 200 countries or other entities receive credit
for publishing S&E articles (appendix table
Trends in Country and Regional Authorship
Steadily increasing investments in S&E education and research infrastructure in many countries, especially in Asia, have led to increased R&D in those countries and laid the groundwork for increased research productivity. As a result, scientists and engineers in those countries are increasingly prominent contributors to international peer-reviewed journals.
Differences in recent rates of growth in article production
are striking. In the major Asian countries, average annual
growth rates between 1995 and 2007 were highest in China,
at 17%. Across the Asia-8 countries, growth rates have been
9% annually for the same period (appendix table
These high rates of growth in S&E article authorship
in Asia contrast with much slower rates for the world as a
whole (2.5%), for countries with mature S&E infrastructures
such as the United States (0.7%), and for the European
Union (1.9%) (appendix table
Countries within the European Union showed different
trends in S&E article output between 1995 and 2007. Growth
rates below 3% were common, for example, in Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. Among
the lowest rates of growth on this indicator were the United
Kingdom (0.3%), France (0.5%), and Sweden (0.5%). Relatively
high growth was experienced by the Czech Republic
(5.4%), Greece (7.6%), Ireland (6.1%), Portugal (10.9%),
and Spain (5.3%). Although not a member of the European
Union, Turkey experienced one of the fastest growth rates in
S&E article output in the world: 14.4% annually (from 1,700
articles in 1995 to 8,600 in 2007 (appendix table
The countries in Central and South America together increased
their S&E article output between 1995 and 2007 at
an annual rate of 7.8%. Among the Central and South American
countries that had more than 1,000 articles in 2007, Brazil
had the highest growth rate (10.9%), followed by Mexico
(6.7%), Chile (5.8%), and Argentina (4.6%). Brazil is also
steadily increasing in rank among the world's S&E article
producers: it was 23rd in 1995 and 16th in 2007 (table
Across North Africa and the Middle East, only Egypt (2.8% annual growth since 1995), Israel (1.2%), and Iran (25.7%) produced substantial numbers of S&E articles in 2007. Iran's growth rate was the fastest of all nations (see sidebar "S&E Publishing Trends in Iran").
Research Portfolios of Top Article-Producing
The S&E article output of the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, and the Asia-8 together accounted for 82% of the world total in 2007 (appendix table
These portfolios also vary in their emphasis on the life sciences
(the biological, medical, agricultural, and other life sciences):
the U.S. output in these fields accounted for 57% of its
total, compared with 49% for the European Union, 25% for
China, 45% for Japan, and 34% for the Asia-8 (table
A third strong contrast across the five countries/regions is the emphasis on engineering: S&E research publications with authors in Asia are relatively more heavily concentrated in engineering (China at 16%, Japan at 11%, and the Asia-8 at 19%) than those with authors in the United States (7%) or the European Union (8%).
Coauthored, collaborative articles with authors from different institutions and different countries have continued to increase, indicating increasing knowledge transfer or knowledge sharing among institutions and across national boundaries. ,  The discussion begins with consideration of broad trends in coauthorship for the world as a whole, moves to regional patterns, and ends with an examination of country-level trends, including selected country-to-country coauthorship patterns and indexes of international collaboration. (Indicators of cross-sector coauthorship, which are available only for the United States, are examined below in the section "Trends in Output and Collaboration Among U.S. Sectors." Indicators of collaboration using different data are discussed earlier in this chapter under "Collaborative Research" in the "Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in Academia" section. For a consideration of the limitations of bibliometric techniques in identifying interdisciplinary S&E research, see the sidebar "Can Bibliometric Data Provide Accurate Indicators of Interdisciplinary Research?"
Article Author Names and Institutions
Between 1988 and 2005, the number of S&E articles, notes, and reviews grew by 60%, while the number of institutions and the number of author names on them both grew by more than 100% (NSB 2008, 08-01, figure
A closely related indicator, coauthored articles (i.e., articles
with authors in different departments or institutions),
has also increased steadily. Coauthored articles grew from
40% of the world's total S&E articles in 1988 to 64% in
International Coauthorship From a Regional
From the perspective of large article-producing countries/regions, interregional coauthorship has increased steadily. From 1998 to 2008, interregional coauthorship increased as a percentage of the total article output of the United States (from 20% to 30%), the European Union (from 21% to 29%), Japan (17% to 26%), and the Asia-8 (22% to 27%) (table
As a percentage of the world's interregionally coauthored articles, the shares of articles with a U.S., European Union, or Japanese institutional author declined slightly, giving way to a rise in the share of articles with an institutional author from China (from 6% to 13%) or the Asia-8 (from 9% to 14%). These changes in share of the world's interregional articles are similar to the changes in each region's share of all the world's articles.
The other regions identified in table
International Coauthorship Patterns From a
When the region-level data discussed in the previous section are disaggregated to the country level, a richer picture of international S&E article coauthorship emerges. Table
The sheer volume of U.S. internationally coauthored articles dominates these measures: 30% of U.S. articles in 2008 were internationally coauthored, and U.S.-based researchers were coauthors of 43% of the world's total internationally coauthored articles. The next highest percentages of the world's coauthored articles were held by Germany and the United Kingdom, each at 19% of the world total.
Even higher rates of international coauthorship are evident among the countries of the European Union and in Switzerland. Both Japan's and the Asia-8's international coauthorship rates have increased over the past 10 years.
What accounts for specific coauthorship relationships? Narin and colleagues (1991) concluded that "the direction of international coauthorship is heavily dependent on linguistic and historical factors." Coauthorship data suggest that geography, cultural relations, and the language of particular pairs or sets of countries play a role (Glänzel and Schubert 2005; Schubert and Glänzel 2006), and these preferences have been evolving over time (Glänzel 2001). In more recent years, European Union policies and incentives that foster intra-European Union, cross-border collaboration are also partly responsible for some high rates of coauthorship. The discussion below in the section "International Collaboration in S&E" identifies strong coauthorship relations in specific country pairs across the world, based on the strength of their coauthorship rates.
International Coauthorship With the United States
Notable changes in these patterns of U.S. international coauthorship
parallel changes in other indicators discussed in this
section. As China's total S&E article output grew rapidly, so
did its coauthorship with U.S. authors: the U.S. share of China's
internationally coauthored articles increased about 6 percentage
points over the past decade, and China's share of U.S.
internationally coauthored articles increased almost 7 percentage
International Collaboration in S&E
In developing indicators of international collaboration between countries and across regions, researchers have developed statistical techniques that account for unequal sizes in countries' S&E article output and coauthorship patterns (Glänzel and Schubert 2004). One of the simplest is the index of international collaboration (table
Collaboration indexes between pairs of countries on opposite sides of the North Atlantic are all low and have changed little over the decade. In Europe, collaboration patterns are mixed, but most have increased over the decade, indicating growing integration across the European Union in terms of S&E article publishing. Among the large publishing countries of Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, collaboration was less than expected but grew in all three countries over the decade.
The Scandinavian countries increased their coauthorship
indexes with many countries in Europe (appendix table
Cross-Pacific collaboration patterns are mixed. Japan-United States collaboration fell below the expected value over the decade, while the China-United States index rose to near 1. U.S. collaboration indexes with South Korea and Taiwan declined but remained higher than expected in both cases. Canadian scientists and engineers were less likely than their U.S. neighbors to have coauthored with colleagues in Asia. Mexico's collaboration with Argentina is almost four times higher than expected, at 3.74 in 2008. In South America, the collaboration index of Argentina-Brazil, at 5.32, is one of the highest in the world.
Collaboration indexes within Asia and across the South Pacific between the large article producers are generally higher than expected but with only minor changes over the past decade. Australia's coauthorships are strongly linked to New Zealand, at nearly four times the expected rate of coauthorship. Two strongly coauthoring pairs are South Korea-Japan and Australia-Singapore. India's collaboration index with South Korea grew from 1.61 to 2.19 over the past decade.
In the U.S. innovation system, ties between and among
universities, industry, and government have been beneficial
for all sides. These ties include the flows of knowledge among
these sectors, for which research article outputs and collaboratively
produced articles are proxy indicators. S&E articles authored
at academic institutions have for decades accounted for more than 70% of all U.S. articles (76% in 2008) (appendix table
Article Output by Sector
Total annual S&E articles by authors in U.S. nonacademic sectors changed little over the past decade, ranging from 50,000 to 55,000 articles per year between 1995 and 2008 (appendix table
Federally funded research and development centers
(FFRDCs) are research institutions sponsored by federal
agencies and administered by universities, industry, or
other nonprofit institutions. FFRDCs have specialized research
agendas closely related to the mission of the sponsoring
agency and may house large and unique research instruments not otherwise available in other research venues.
Although authors at FFRDCs published articles in all
of the broad S&E fields considered in this chapter, articles
in physics, chemistry, and engineering together represented
69% of publication by this sector in 2008, reflecting its specialized
research programs. Physics articles accounted for
39% of the FFRDC total (9% of the total for all sectors);
engineering articles for 15% (7% of the total for all sectors);
and chemistry articles for 16% (8% of the total for all sectors
The 16 FFRDCs sponsored by the Department of Energy dominated S&E publishing by this sector. Across all fields of S&E, DOE-sponsored labs accounted for 83% of the total for the sector in 2005 (NSB 2008). Scientists and engineers at DOE-sponsored FFRDCs published 96% of the sector's articles in chemistry, 95% in physics, and 90% in engineering (see "S&E Articles From Federally Funded Research and Development Centers," NSB 2008, p 5-47). Nine other federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Treasury; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and National Science Foundation also sponsor another 23 FFRDCs (NSF/SRS 2009a).
In contrast, articles published by authors in the private
nonprofit sector are primarily in the medical sciences (55%
of the sector's articles in 2008) and biological sciences
(25%) (appendix table
Trends in Sector Coauthorship
This section considers coauthorship data as an indicator of collaboration at the sectoral level between U.S. institutional authors and between U.S. sectors and foreign institutions. These data show that the growing integration of R&D activities, as measured by coauthorship, is occurring across the full range of R&D-performing institutions internationally as well as domestically.
Between 1998 and 2008, coauthorship within sectors increased
for all U.S. sectors. Coauthorship within academia
rose from 38% in 1998 to 45% in 2008. FFRDC-FFRDC
coauthorship increased 5 percentage points (table
U.S. cross-sectoral coauthorships show a mixed pattern
between 1998 and 2008. Coauthorship between FFRDCs
and industry decreased. (Articles authored by industry physicists
have been declining gradually across the period. Since
a strong emphasis of FFRDC-authored articles is in physics
(39%), it may be that fewer and fewer physicists are available
in industry for potential coauthorship with physicists in
FFRDCs.) The largest gains in all sectors (6.8–9.8 percentage
points) were with coauthors in academia, by far the largest
sector with the largest pool of potential S&E coauthors.
Cross-sector coauthorship with academic authors was higher
in 2008 (54%–74%) than intrasector coauthorship within academia
(45%), and cross-sector coauthorship with academia
was higher in all sectors than any intrasector coauthorship
Except for the decline in coauthorship between FFRDCs and industry, the indicators presented in this section hint at increasing integration between and among the different types of U.S. institutions that publish the results of R&D in the scientific and technical literature. Growth in coauthorship has been particularly strong between U.S. authors in academia and in all other sectors. Because of the predominance of the academic sector in S&E article publishing in the United States, academic scientists and engineers have been on the forefront of the integration of S&E research across institutions, both nationally and internationally.
International collaboration increased rapidly in the United
States. International coauthorship rates rose by 7–10 percentage
points between 1998 and 2008 (table
Citations indicate influence. When scientists and engineers
cite the published papers resulting from prior S&E research,
they are formally crediting the influence of that research on
their own work. Like the indicators of international coauthorship
discussed above, cross-national citations are evidence
that S&E research is increasingly international in scope. Between
1992 and 2008, international citations grew faster than
total citations: 5.8% annually versus 4.6% (figure
Two other trends accompanied the steady growth of international citations in the world's S&E literature: changing shares of total citations across countries and changing shares of highly cited S&E literature. These are discussed in the following sections.
Citation Trends in a Global Context
Shares of the world total of citations to S&E research articles have changed concurrently with shares of the world total of these articles. Appendix table
China's share of both total world S&E articles and citations increased over the same period. However, in contrast to the global trend of increasing international citations, China's pattern has been different. Unlike the United States and other large article-producing countries, China's share of international citations decreased between 1998 and 2008, from 64% to 51%, suggesting that much of the use of China's expanding S&E article output—as indicated by citations to those articles—is occurring within China.
Trends in Highly Cited S&E Literature
Another indicator of performance of a national or regional S&E system is the share of its articles that are highly cited. High citation rates can indicate that an article has a greater impact on subsequent research than articles with lower citation rates.
This is the case in every field for U.S. articles. In both
1998 and 2008, as displayed in appendix table
Citations to the European Union's S&E articles displayed
a different pattern: it had higher percentages of articles in the
lower percentiles across all fields of S&E except in the agricultural
sciences (appendix table
When citation rates are normalized by the share of world
articles during the citation period to produce an index of
highly cited articles, the influence of U.S. articles is seen to
have changed little over the past 10 years. Between 1998 and
2008, the U.S. index of highly cited articles barely changed
(from 1.83 to 1.78) (figure
The United States experienced notable gains on the index
of highly cited articles in engineering and computer sciences
(although with relatively low counts in the latter) and
a decline in chemistry (appendix table
Other indicators of academic R&D outputs reflect universities' efforts to capitalize on their intellectual property in the form of patents and associated activities. The majority of U.S. universities did not become actively involved in the management of their own intellectual property until late in the 20th century, although some were granted patents much earlier. The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 gave colleges and universities a common legal framework for claiming ownership of income streams from patented discoveries that resulted from their federally funded research. To facilitate the conversion of new knowledge produced in their laboratories to patent-protected public knowledge that can be potentially licensed by others or form the basis for a startup firm, more and more research institutions established technology management/transfer offices (AUTM 2009).
Efforts to encourage links between university-based research and commercial exploitation of the results of that research have been widely studied by researchers. Mowery (2002) notes the strong growth in funding by NIH and the predominance of biomedically related patenting by universities in the 1990s. Branstetter and Ogura (2005) identify a "bio-nexus" in patent-to-paper citations, and Owen-Smith and Powell (2003) explore the effects of an academic medical center as part of the "scientific capacity" of a research university. In a qualitative study of two research universities that would appear to have similar capacities, Owen-Smith and Powell (2001) examine the very different rates of invention disclosure of the two campuses. Stephan and colleagues (2007) found strong differences in patenting activity among university scientists by field of science; a strong relationship between publication activity and patenting by individual researchers; and patenting by university researchers in only a small proportion of the potential population.
The following sections discuss overall trends in university patenting and related indicators through 2007–08.
University Patenting Trends
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data show that annual patent grants to universities and colleges ranged from 2,950 to 3,700 between 1998 and 2008 (appendix table
The top 200 R&D-performing institutions, with 96% of the total patents granted to U.S. universities during the 1998–2008 period, dominate among universities and university systems receiving patent protection. College and university patents as a percentage of U.S. nongovernmental patents fell from 5.2% in 1998 to 4.3% in 2008. Among the top R&D-performing institutions that received patents between 1998 and 2008, 19 accounted for more than 50% of all patents granted to these institutions (although these included a few multicampus systems, including the Universities of California and North Carolina).
Between 1998 and 2008, three technology areas dominated
U.S. university patenting: chemicals (19%), biotechnology
(15%), and pharmaceuticals (14%) (appendix table
Patent-Related Activities and Income
Data from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) indicate continuing growth in a number of patent-related activities. Invention disclosures filed with university technology management offices describe prospective inventions and are submitted before a patent application is filed. These grew from 13,700 in 2003 to 17,700 in 2007 (notwithstanding a small decline in institutions responding to the AUTM survey over the same period) (appendix table
Most royalties from licensing agreements accrue to relatively
few patents and the universities that hold them, and
many of the AUTM respondent offices report negative income.
(Thursby and colleagues  note that the objectives
of university technology management offices include
more than royalty income.) At the same time, large one-time
payments to a university can affect the overall trend in university licensing income. In 2007, the 161 institutions
that responded to the AUTM survey reported a total of $1.9
billion in net royalties from their patent holdings (appendix table
Between 2003 and 2007, the inventory of revenue-generating
licenses and options across all AUTM respondent
institutions increased from 9,000 to 12,500 (appendix table
Citations to the S&E literature on the cover pages of issued patents are one indicator of the contribution of research to the development of practical innovation. This indicator of science linkage to practical advance increased sharply in the late 1980's and early 1990's (Narin, Hamilton, and Olivastro 1997), due at least in part to developments in U.S. policy, industry growth and maturation, and court interpretation. At the same time, patenting activity by academic institutions was increasing rapidly, as were patent citations to S&E literature produced across all sectors (NSB 2008, pp. 5-49 to 5-54).
Between 1998 and 2008, growth on this indicator was
much slower. Of utility patents awarded to both U.S. and
foreign assignees, the number citing S&E articles (11% of
total utility patents awarded in 2008) grew 1.4% annually
over the 10-year period, compared with 0.7% annually for
all utility patents (appendix table
Five broad S&E fields (the biological sciences, the medical
sciences, chemistry, physics, and engineering) accounted
for 97% of the total citations in these patents (appendix table
The data discussed in the previous three paragraphs were
heavily influenced by U.S. patents awarded to foreign assignees
and references in those patents to non-U.S. S&E
articles. Considering only citations to U.S. articles, overall
growth in citations has been flat over the past 10 years (appendix table