Chapter 2 of this volume discusses the human capital outputs of higher education in S&E. This section continues that theme by examining the intellectual output of academic S&E research using indicators derived from published research articles and U.S. patent and related data.
Researchers have traditionally published the results of their work in the world's peer-reviewed S&E journals. Article-level data from these journals are indicators of S&E research output by countries and—within the United States—by academia and other sectors of the economy. (See sidebar "Bibliometric Data and Terminology.") These bibliometric data can also be used to track trends in S&E research collaboration, using measures of coauthorship between and among departments, institutions, sectors, and countries. Finally, citations in more current research articles to previous research, and in patents to published research articles, offer insight into the importance and impact of previous research and its connection to inventions.
Between 1999 and 2009, the total world S&E article output in the SCI/SSCI database grew at an average annual rate of 2.6% (table
Viewed regionally, growth in S&E article output over the decade has been uneven. Mature economies had modest growth or decline: the United States averaged 1.0%, EU member countries 1.4%, while Japan declined by –1.1% per year and Russia by –2.0%. Developing economies, mainly in Asia, far outpaced this growth in S&E articles, where China (16.8%) and South Korea (10.1%) were joined by Taiwan at 7.7%, Singapore at 8.2%, and India at 6.9% (table
Countries in Central and South America together increased their S&E article output between 1999 and 2009 at an annual rate of 5.6%. Brazil had the highest growth rate in the region, at 7.7% (table
The countries or other entities with indexed S&E articles are always evolving. In the current volume, 199 receive credit for publishing S&E articles (appendix table
The number of journals covered by SCI/SSCI has expanded to accommodate the rising number of research articles. Most of the increase reflects activity in new S&T centers. Figure
Article output trends since about the mid-1990s have two defining features: the rapid growth of articles with authors from the developing world, and a rise in the percentage of global article output that is the result of collaboration among researchers internationally. Articles with authors from different institutions in the United States and from different countries have continued to increase, indicating rising knowledge creation, transfer, and sharing among institutions and across national boundaries., This section covers broad trends in coauthorship for the world as a whole and continues 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."
Earlier volumes of this report have noted the imbalance between the growth in number of S&E articles and the growth in the number of authorship credits to institutions and individuals that produced those articles (NSB 2008, 08-01, figure
A closely related indicator, coauthored articles (i.e., articles with authors in different institutions or departments or in more than one country) has also increased steadily. Figure
The percent of S&E articles with a U.S. academic author that is internationally coauthored is higher than the percent of total world international coauthorships (figure
International coauthorship can be considered from two perspectives: (1) a country's level of participation in the world's total S&E coauthorships, and (2) a country's international coauthorship vis-à-vis the country's total S&E authorship.
World total S&E coauthorship. Table
Individual region/country coauthorship. Table
The sheer volume of U.S. internationally coauthored articles dominates these measures: 32% of U.S. articles in 2010 were internationally coauthored, up from 23% in 2000. Even higher rates of international coauthorship are evident among the countries of the European Union, where large Framework Research Programs have strongly encouraged it, and in Switzerland. Both Japan's and Asia-8's international coauthorship rates have increased over the past 10 years, and more countries passed the 50% mark over the decade.
What accounts for specific coauthorship relationships? Linguistic and historical factors (Narin et al. 1991), geography, and cultural relations (Glänzel and Schubert 2005) play a role. In recent years, coauthorships in Europe have risen in response to EU policies and incentives that actively encouraged intra-European cross-border collaboration. However, strong ties among science establishments in the Asian region, without the formal framework that characterizes Europe, indicate that regional dynamics can play a strong role in the development of collaborative ties. The discussion below in the section "International Collaboration in S&E" identifies strong coauthorship relationships in specific country pairs across the world, based on the strength of their coauthorship rates.
For example, 2.8% of U.S. internationally coauthored articles in 2010 had an Israeli coauthor. The corresponding figure for Israel, with its much smaller scientific infrastructure, is 53.9%. Also, 49.9% of Canada's internationally coauthored articles had a U.S. coauthor, but only 11.8% of U.S. international coauthorship was with a colleague at a Canadian institution. Linguistic, geographic, and other ties underlie these collaborations.
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 10 percentage points to 45.2% over the past decade, and China's share of U.S. internationally coauthored articles increased 9.7 percentage points to 13.7% (table
The size of countries' S&E systems conditions the scope and reach of their international collaborations (Glänzel and Schubert 2004). An index of international collaboration addresses this issue. This index is a ratio of country A's percentage of country B's international coauthorships to country A's percentage of total international coauthorship (Narin et al. 1991) (see sidebar, "Calculating the Index of International Collaboration"). An index value substantially greater than 1 indicates strong collaborative ties, and a value substantially below 1 signals relatively infrequent collaboration. The 1995 and 2010 indexes for country pairs that produced more than 1% of all internationally coauthored articles in 2010 are shown in appendix table
Mexico-Argentina scientific collaboration networks are strong at 3.5, well above expected levels. In South America, the collaboration index of Argentina-Brazil, at 5.1, is one of the highest in the world.
Collaboration indexes between pairs of countries on opposite sides of the North Atlantic are all low and have changed little over the past 15 years. In Europe, collaboration patterns are mixed but most have increased, indicating growing integration across the European Union for S&E article publishing. Among the large publishing countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, and France) collaboration was less than expected, but grew in all three countries over 15 years. A particularly strong collaboration network has developed between scientists in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The Scandinavian countries increased their collaboration indexes with many countries elsewhere in Europe (appendix table
Cross-Pacific collaboration patterns are mixed. Japan-United States collaboration fell below the expected value over the 15 years, while the United States-China index rose to 1. U.S. collaboration with South Korea and Taiwan weakened but remained higher than expected in both cases. The international collaboration indexes between Canada and countries in Asia are lower than the U.S.-Asia indexes.
Collaboration indexes within Asia and across the South Pacific between the large article producers are generally higher than expected, but have experienced some weakening. Australia's coauthorships are strongly linked to New Zealand. Two strongly collaborating pairs are South Korea-Japan and Australia-Singapore, but each of these networks has declined in strength. India's collaborations with both South Korea and Japan grew stronger between 1995 and 2010.
In the U.S. innovation system, ties between and among universities, industry, and government can be 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, and this percentage has been slowly rising—to 76% in 2010 (table
Total annual S&E articles by authors in U.S. nonacademic sectors changed little over the past decade, ranging from 48,000 to 55,000 articles per year between 1995 and 2010 (appendix table
Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) are research institutions that are 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 71% of publication by this sector in 2010, reflecting the more specialized research programs in FFRDCs (appendix table
In contrast, articles published by authors in the private nonprofit sector are primarily in the medical sciences (54% of the sector's articles in 2010) and biological sciences (25%) (appendix table
Coauthorship data are indicators 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 R&D-performing U.S. institutions in all sectors.
Overall, the largest increases in this integration have been driven by increased coauthorship between U.S. academic authors and non-U.S. authors (in all sectors; NSF data do not identify the sectors of non-U.S. authors) (table
Between 2000 and 2010, coauthorship within sectors increased for all U.S. sectors. Coauthorship within academia rose from 39% in 2000 to 47% in 2010. FFRDC to FFRDC coauthorship increased 6 percentage points (table
As discussed earlier in this chapter, international collaboration has increased rapidly in the United States. International coauthorship across the U.S. sectors rose by 7–11 percentage points between 2000 and 2010 (table
Citations indicate influence, and they are increasingly international in scope. 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. Citations are generally increasing in volume relative to S&E articles. In 1992, an S&E article received, on average, 1.85 citations. In contrast, an S&E article in 2010 received on average 2.32 citations (Figure
Like the indicators of international coauthorship discussed above, cross-national citations are evidence that S&E research is increasingly international in scope. 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.
Shares of the world total of citations to S&E research articles have changed concurrently with shares of the world total of these articles. Table
China's share of 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/regions, the share of China's citations that are international citations decreased between 2000 and 2010, from 60% to 51% (figure
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.
World citations to U.S. research articles show that U.S. articles continue to have the highest citation rates across all broad fields of S&E. In both 2000 and 2010, as displayed in appendix table
Only U.S. publications display the preferred relationship of strongly higher proportions of articles in the higher percentiles of article citations. When cited, articles with authors from the European Union, China, Japan, and the Asia-8 are more often found in the lower citation percentiles. (These data are summarized in appendix table
To control for changing shares of the world's S&E articles, Figure
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 has changed little over the past 10 years. Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. index of highly cited articles barely changed (from 1.85 to 1.76) (figure
The United States experienced gains on the index of highly cited articles in engineering, astronomy, other life sciences, and psychology and declines in chemistry, geosciences, and mathematics, although all remained well above expectation (appendix table
Notably, China achieved an index value of near 1 in engineering and computer sciences (figure
Other indicators of academic R&D outputs reflect universities' efforts to develop their intellectual property for possible commercial use in the form of patents and associated activities. The majority of U.S. universities did not become actively involved in managing 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 (Association of University Technology Managers 2009).
The following sections discuss overall trends in university patenting and related indicators through 2009–10.
The top 200 R&D-performing institutions, with 97% of the total patents granted to U.S. universities during the 1998–2010 period, dominate among universities and university systems receiving patent protection. College and university patents have been about 4.2–4.7% of U.S. nongovernmental patents for a decade. Among the top R&D-performing institutions that received patents between 1998 and 2010, 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 Texas). The University of California system received 11.9% of all U.S. patents granted to U.S. universities over the period, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 4.2% of all U.S. patents granted to U.S. universities.
Biotechnology patents account for the largest percent (30%) of U.S. university patents in 2010 (appendix table
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 12,600 in 2002, to 18,200 in 2009 (notwithstanding small shifts in the number of institutions responding to the AUTM survey over the same period) (figure
The AUTM survey respondents reported 348 startup companies formed in 2003 and 555 in 2009, with a total of extant startup companies in 2009 of 3,175 (appendix table
Most royalties from licensing agreements accrue for relatively few patents and the universities that own them, and many of the AUTM respondent offices report no income. (Thursby and colleagues  report 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 2009, the 153 institutions that responded to the AUTM survey reported a total of $1.5 billion in net royalties from their patent holdings, down sharply from the previous 2 years, perhaps as a result of the nation's economic downturn in 2008–09 (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 innovations. This indicator of how science links to invention increased sharply in the late 1980's and early 1990's (Narin, Hamilton, and Olivastro 1997), due 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.
Between 1998 and 2010, growth for this indicator was much slower. Of utility patents awarded to both U.S. and foreign assignees, 11% cited the S&E articles analyzed in this chapter in 2010 (appendix table
In 2010, five broad S&E fields (biological sciences, medical sciences, chemistry, physics, and engineering) accounted for 96% of the citations to U.S. articles in USPTO patents (figure
Considering only citations to U.S. articles, growth in citations has been uneven across the sectors and thus sector shares have changed somewhat (appendix table
NSF developed a set of four filters for identifying patents with potential application in pollution mitigation and in alternative means of energy production, storage, and management. (See sidebar "Identifying Clean Energy and Pollution Control Patents" for details on the filters.) These include patents slated by the federal government for fast-track review at USPTO.
Chapter 6 of this volume presents extensive data on the patents in these four technology areas, including the nationality of their assignees. (See chapter 6, "Patenting of clean energy and pollution control technologies.") This section reports on the citations in those patents to the S&E literature, using those citations to indicate the linkages between S&E R&D and the potential for practical use of the results of those R&D projects in new inventions and technologies.
Five broad S&E fields dominate the citations to S&E literature in these four patent areas: chemistry, physics, engineering, the biological sciences, and geosciences (which in this taxonomy includes the environmental sciences). The range of S&E fields cited indicates that these developing technologies rely on a wide base of S&E knowledge.
The S&E fields cited by these patents are shown in table
Chemistry also dominates the citations in patents for energy storage systems, at 54%., followed by citations to articles in engineering (20%), physics (16%), and the biological sciences (9%).
Patents with potential for application in pollution mitigation processes cite S&E articles most often in chemistry, at 31%. The biological sciences, geosciences, and engineering each receive about one-fifth of the citations in these patents.
Smart grid is a set of patents related to efficient use and distribution of energy. Two fields dominate the S&E article citations in these patents: physics (52%) and engineering (40%).