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New Research Capacity Reflected in World's Citations Base

Citations to the work of others in the literature are a broad indicator of the usefulness of this work in ongoing research.[16] In most major countries/regions, citations to the international literature have grown at the expense of citing purely domestic work. International citations make up 70% of all references in Japanese articles and 65% of all references in the combined output of the Asia-8. In the United States, the EU, and China, about half of all citations are to articles that include at least one author from another country (figure O-21).

Intra-Asian citation patterns show a distinct reliance by Chinese researchers on the growing domestic literature, and on intra-Asia-8 articles by Asia-8 scientists, accompanied by rising Asia-8-China citations and vice versa. Citations to Japanese science and engineering articles are gradually declining (figure O-22).

Increasingly, high-quality research is being done not only in the United States, the EU, and Japan, but in a broader set of economies. This is illustrated by the declining proportion of citations to U.S. publications in articles originating elsewhere (figure O-23). The same trend appears in the references found in the top 1% of all cited articles.


[16] Citation indicators are subject to a number of distortions: self-citation, citation of failed theories, hypotheses, and approaches; citation of domestic versus foreign articles; language and cultural barriers; etc. However, when aggregated over many articles, citation indicators carry information about the relative use of an accumulated knowledge base in subsequent work.