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Research Outputs: Publications and Patents

Why is this important?

Research produces new knowledge, products, or processes. Research publications reflect contributions to knowledge, patents indicate useful inventions, and citations on patents to the scientific and technical literature indicate the linkage between research and practical application.

Key observations:

S&E articles, by selected country/region/economy: 1997–2011

NOTE: Asia total includes China, India, and Japan.

SEI 2014: S&E Article Output, Chapter 5.


The United States publishes more S&E articles than any other country. The combined output of the European Union, however, is larger than that of the United States.

Asia's S&E research article output is approaching parity with the United States and the European Union. Between 1997 and 2011, Asia's output more than doubled, led primarily by China. In 2011, China produced 11% of the world's S&E articles, more than any country except the United States.

Engineering articles, by selected country/region/economy: 1997–2011

NOTE: Asia total includes China, India, and Japan.

SEI 2014: S&E Article Output, Chapter 5.

Engineering articles

Engineering is vital to knowledge-intensive and technologically advanced economies, and many Asian economies are building their engineering capabilities.

In 2011, China published 17% of the world's engineering articles, equaling the U.S. share. U.S. publications, however, continue to receive more citations. Asia as a whole published more than twice as many engineering articles as the United States and 50% more than the European Union in 2011. The output of engineering articles is rising in the European Union and, more gradually, in the United States.

U.S. patents granted to non-U.S. inventors, by country/region/economy: 1995–2012

SEI 2014: Global Trends in Patenting, Chapter 6.


Patents protect the property rights of inventors. As knowledge-intensive economic activities expand worldwide, patent awards are rising. Inventors from around the globe seek patent protection in the United States because of its large and open market. U.S. inventors now account for just under half of all U.S. patents. Inventors in the European Union and Japan receive most of the U.S. patents awarded to non-U.S. inventors, with growing numbers of U.S. patents awarded to inventors in Taiwan and South Korea. Although growing, U.S. patents awarded to inventors in China and India remain modest.

U.S. patents granted in ICT and health-related technologies: 2003 and 2012

ICT = information and communications technology.
SEI 2014: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patents Granted, by Technology Area, Chapter 6.


Information and communications technologies (ICT) and health-related technologies account for nearly half of all U.S. patents granted. During the last decade, the number of ICT patents climbed much more steeply than the number of health-related patents.

U.S. patents that cite S&E literature, by ownership: 2003–12


Science-patent linkage

Patents cite the prior scientific and technological knowledge on which they are built. A growing proportion of U.S. patents, whether awarded to U.S. or foreign inventors, cites research in published scientific articles as an influence.

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