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Tide of International Science Moving Against US, EU 302

Posted by kdawson
from the old-guard-passing dept.
explosivejared writes "The Economist has a story on the increasing scientific productivity of countries like China, India, and Brazil relative to the field's old guards in America, Europe, and Japan. Scientific productivity in this sense includes percent of GDP spent on R&D and the overall numbers of researchers, scholarly articles, and patents that a country produces. The article notes increasing levels of international collaboration on scholarly scientific articles in leading journals. From the article: '[M]ore than 35% of articles in leading journals are now the product of international collaboration. That is up from 25% 15 years ago — something the old regime and the new alike can celebrate.'" Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states.
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Tide of International Science Moving Against US, EU

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  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:25PM (#34218944) Journal

    We here in the States have much more pressing issues [msn.com] at the moment... Science is for pagans and heathens

    • Re:Just too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:39PM (#34219064)
      I read that article and I think maybe they're trying to solve the wrong problem. Rather than training more priests to perform exorcisms maybe they need to stop looking for demons in everything.
      • by paiute (550198) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:29PM (#34219364)

        I read that article and I think maybe they're trying to solve the wrong problem. Rather than training more priests to perform exorcisms maybe they need to stop looking for demons in everything.

        When all you've got is holy water, every problem looks like a demon.

    • LOL. Thanks

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And, of course, this will be modded insightful instead of offtopic, just so Slashdotters can rejoice in their atheism once again despite it having nothing to do with the actual article.
      • Re:Just too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:05AM (#34220404) Homepage Journal

        If you think that religious fanaticism doesn't have anything to do with the (relative) decline in US scientific productivity, you haven't been paying attention.

        • Re:Just too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

          by PietjeJantje (917584) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @08:31AM (#34221388)
          Yes and no. Your sig says "correlation is not causation". Yes, religious fanaticism and in general anti-intellectuals make intellect almost look suspicious at times, and this is something we should worry about. However, I'd argue that religion is stronger in India and Brazil, were science is on the up according to this report. This suggests that religion is not the defining factor. I think it has an impact on some parts of science, for example if a religion is against biotech, biotech would clearly suffer, but while these areas will be highlighted, it doesn't affect the whole of science in pure numbers in terms of productivity, because the whole dwarfs those areas. Personally, I think the problem is there is more money and respect for smart brains elsewhere, such as in finance. Perhaps not religious fanaticism is he defining factor, but greed and the lack of necessity.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by npsimons (32752) *

            This suggests that religion is not the defining factor.

            Religion /per se/ may not be the problem, but I can tell you as an American, that religion in this country is most *definitely* against science. You need look no farther than the creationists (aka, intelligent design proponents) and those against stem cell research to see just how strongly religion opposes science in America. It doesn't help that anti-intellectualism has been ascendant in America for (at least) the last three decades. Even ignoring t

    • by c6gunner (950153)

      It's worse than that. Louisiana is now officially looking at changing textbooks in order to get rid of evolution. They want to replace one of the best documented scientific theories in existence with "I dunno how this works, ergo God did it". If the rest of the US decides to go down that path, I don't foresee a very bright future for science and technology in America.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gman003 (1693318)
        You seem to be overestimating how "united" the US actually is. Really, it isn't - saying "Louisiana is banning evolution, the whole US is next" is like saying "Serbia is banning evolution, all of Europe is next". Yes, we're united militarily and economically, but many things are decided at the state level or lower. As far as education is concerned, it's pretty much as follows:
        • The Federal Gov't sets certain basic standards such as "what basic skills need to be taught", and provides some funding.
        • The State G
  • patents/capita (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:27PM (#34218956) Homepage
    Judging scientific productivity in terms of patents filed is like measuring software value in lines of code. I realize that's not the only metric here but the fact that they're even looking at it this way is ridiculous.
    • Re:patents/capita (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:36PM (#34219038) Homepage Journal

      Not only that, one of the other measures of "productivity" was the amount of money spent. That's not what "productivity" means.

      The number of published papers *that get cited by others* would be a much better metric.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by aurizon (122550)

        Take a look at lab time per dollar. You might find that the Chinese researchers put in ten hours, and we put in one for the same cost, and Europe is the same.
        Thus we are losing at the manufacturing end as well as at the research end.

        In the USA/Europe?UK faculty and employee unions impoverish their research institutions with demands.

        That said, I wonder if many USA/UK/European research tasks are exported to China?

        • Re:patents/capita (Score:5, Insightful)

          by toQDuj (806112) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @12:57AM (#34220000) Homepage Journal

          Take a look at lab time per dollar. You might find that the Chinese researchers put in ten hours, and we put in one for the same cost, and Europe is the same.

          Like many bosses say: "Ten hours in the lab can save you one hour in the library". In my eyes, working hard does not beat working a little and thinking a lot. Research simply takes time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by story645 (1278106)

          That said, I wonder if many USA/UK/European research tasks are exported to China?

          Why would they need to? The average American grad student doesn't cost that much, and undergrads are even cheaper/free.
          Also, most of the grad students in the sciences are Asian. I think about half my class is from China, and there are maybe five Americans (most whom are 1st generation) including me.

        • by drsquare (530038) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @03:06AM (#34220410)

          In the USA/Europe?UK faculty and employee unions impoverish their research institutions with demands.

          Yeah, that's the problem, science workers just get paid too much money...

      • Re:patents/capita (Score:5, Interesting)

        by toQDuj (806112) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @11:50PM (#34219720) Homepage Journal

        Except that there is a bonus _per paper written_ in f.ex. Chinese institutes, so that it becomes very attractive to just swamp the community with papers. And when you write papers, you cite your colleagues.

        There simply is no good metric. You have to judge the quality of the papers and authors by reading them. Tht is not the answer accounting departments want to hear, though.

        • Re:patents/capita (Score:5, Insightful)

          by (Score.5, Interestin (865513) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @12:40AM (#34219934)

          Except that there is a bonus _per paper written_ in f.ex. Chinese institutes, so that it becomes very attractive to just swamp the community with papers. And when you write papers, you cite your colleagues.

          There's something similar in India where, I think, you're required to publish at least one refereed paper as an undergrad to get your degree. The result is a tsunami of really, really low-quality papers.

          You have to judge the quality of the papers and authors by reading them.

          Exactly. A million appalling undergraduate-student papers published under duress don't come close to a single piece of quality research. The OP never really seemed to factor this in, it just looked at quantity. Heck, gimme a printing press and SCIgen and I can make Burkina Faso a world leader in science publication, at least until they run out of trees.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by toQDuj (806112)

            Undergrads publishing is indeed going a step too far. The problem also lies in university administrators, who are happy to use "papers published" as a metric for quality and dole out funding accordingly. Some researchers thrive in this as they are very good at publishing quickly, others, perhaps more thorough, have trouble getting any funding..

            I myself like to publish a few well-researched papers per couple of years. My rate is at the moment at less than 1 publication per year.

            I mostly read papers from peop

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ben2umbc (1090351)
            Sure, but also take a look at the top researchers in American schools. They are Chinese, Indian, and Russian. Whats troubling is the lack of American kids doing the research these days. Many of the universities in China and India are ultra-competitive, those students have a lot more competition being that their countries only contain over 2.5 billion people combined. You may laugh about how India churns out all those undergrads with research skills, but you probably didn't laugh when your job was sent overs
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drewhk (1744562)

          There simply is no good metric. You have to judge the quality of the papers and authors by reading them. Tht is not the answer accounting departments want to hear, though.

          Yeah, and this mechanism hinders deep research. The problem is that the most interesting research subjects are also the riskiest ones. You cannot publish papers on failures, therefore you are highly pressed to go for the low hanging fruit. This means that journals will be full of the (n+1)th refinement of a well known algorithm/technology/formula/theorem.

          We need more scientific risk-taking.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Not only that, one of the other measures of "productivity" was the amount of money spent. That's not what "productivity" means.

        In a world financed by consumer debt, that's precisely what "productivity" means.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How about the number of non-falsified and non-plagiarized works? Suddenly China disappears! *gasp*

    • Yep... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917)
      And, from the summary: "Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states."

      So what? Increasing a baseline of 10 by 1 is 10% growth. Increasing a baseline of 1000 by 10 is 1% growth. Even if the metric is valid, which would you take?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Beetle B. (516615)

      I completely agree with your comment.

      Yet, when I look at universities in the US, they play a similar game. In the last university I was in (top 5 in engineering), the faculty were consistently pressured to produce patents, and many of the faculty agreed it was the right path to go on.

      And heck, even quantity of publications is a dubious measure...

      • by toQDuj (806112)

        Patents are bullshit. There is often an striking lack of important information, and you cannot touch it for 20 years in fear of litigation. Patents, science is not.

  • some us schools think collaboration = cheating on some class projects and parts of other school work.

    Some even think that collaboration on papers is cheating as well.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:12PM (#34219258)
      Collaborating on papers which aren't handed out as collaborative papers is definitely cheating. What concerns me more is the implication that some US schools don't think that's cheating.

      Likewise, school work is to be done on ones own, except where indicated as a group task or in cases where one needs it explained.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Likewise, school work is to be done on ones own"

        Why? What if someone is actually helping you and explaining to you how to do the work so that you can later do it yourself? If they are cheating and merely copying answers without learning the material, it will show. It's their education and their own fault.

        • If said cheating is done in secondary school and helps one to get a tertiary placement in preference to someone who did not cheat, it doesn't matter to the displaced scholar that the person who displaced them got found out or failed the course later on.

          Similarly, if a person obtains employment on the strength of academic results which aren't valid, not only does the person they displace get impacted potentially hampering them at the start of their career, the reputation of the cheats educational qualificat

          • "Similarly, if a person obtains employment on the strength of academic results which aren't valid"

            If an employer is hiring people based on the imaginary grading scales present in the school systems, that is their first error.

            "It's this last which should motivate educational institutions to ensure that their students complete their qualifications honestly."

            Banning all collaboration whether good or 'bad' isn't the answer.

            • "Banning all collaboration whether good or 'bad' isn't the answer." Hedwards, to whom you originally replied, carefully distinguished between good and bad collaboration, so I assumed that you would be able to comprehend the fact that I was not referring to permitted and/or required collaborative efforts. My apologies for this erroneous assumption.
              • "so I assumed that you would be able to comprehend the fact that I was not referring to permitted and/or required collaborative efforts."

                No, I was talking about projects that were originally meant to be done alone but you asked for the help of another to show you how to do it, not projects specifically intended to be group projects.

      • by Tacvek (948259) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:39PM (#34219418) Journal

        That said, many teachers agree that student can work together on homework to figure out the approach to a problem, as long as they are not copying actual solutions (i.e. once the approach becomes clear, they stop and finish the problem independently, before moving on to the next problem). The vast majority of my teachers actively encouraged doing that, but were clear that merely copying solutions was very much unacceptable.

        A few of them further specified that if while collaborating on the approach the the group as a whole finds the solution, a notation to that effect should be added to the paper, so the grader does not assume the basically identical answers are a result of copying.

        One area none of the teachers ever touched was the collaborative process of checking answers against each other once everybody has completed the assignment. That is because that is a thorny area, and comes very close to the issue of simply coping answers. Done correctly, this process helps students find and understand mistakes they made, resulting in better understanding of the overall material, especially since by the time students get graded material back, and realize they made a mistake, the class has advanced far beyond that point, making students feel less comfortable asking questions, and also often just no longer care.

      • You'd think that since nearly everybody in the real world collaborates on projects, that academic institutions should want to encourage collaboration.

  • Chinese science (Score:5, Informative)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:31PM (#34219006)
    FTFA:

    But citation of English-language articles in Chinese journals by other publications remains low.

    Maybe it's because Chinese science isn't trustworthy enough? [bbc.co.uk]

    • by pavon (30274) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:36PM (#34219040)

      Here is another article by them about rampant fraud [economist.com] in China's research. More power to Brazil and other countries that are legitimately improving their scientific establishment rather than faking it till they make it.

    • Re:Chinese science (Score:5, Insightful)

      by godrik (1287354) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:11PM (#34219252)

      It is well known in the academic field that if you keep sending your crappy paper to journals, it will eventually get published. And I can tell you that I review a LOT a crap those days. Measuring papers is stupid,, it won't discriminate good papers from bad papers. The editors are supposed not to publish bad papers, but eventually they will. There is no good (IMHO) to discriminate those. So let's not use the number of paper as a metric of how good countries are at science.

      In which country do people go for their study if they ARE going to another country looks like a much better metric to me. And let's face it, no one goes to india, china or brazil. It might come and I wish that eventually they will. I wish those country will produce good science. But let's face it. Right now, they have 20 years to catch up.

      • by Beetle B. (516615)

        And let's face it, no one goes to india, china or brazil.

        Don't know about China, but quite a few do go to India/Brazil - cheaper alternative to the US, and not everyone can get to the US.

        One place many people also end up going: Singapore. They've invested heavily on recruiting top faculty (a bunch from my highly ranked alumnus abandoned the US and moved there).

  • Ever done this [youtube.com]? How long would it take, do you think, it would take to rebuild a place like, say, oh, I don't know, New Orleans?

  • by nbauman (624611) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:33PM (#34219022) Homepage Journal

    I've got a great idea.

    Instead of making college free like other countries, let's raise the cost of going to college so high that nobody can afford it.

    Instead, we'll let them take out loans that will put them in debt for the rest of their lives.

    We'll make the interest rates so high that they'll never be able to pay it off.

    And to stop them from going bankrupt like businessmen or anybody else who is overwhelmed by debt, we'll make it illegal for them to go bankrupt.

    (Note to self: Don't forget to underpay science teachers and destroy teachers' unions.)

    • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:41PM (#34219078)
      I gotta add some thing to make your idea even better!

      Let's also have society not value science and let's put superstitious thought on equal ground - say "Intelligent Design" or some other such nonsense on par with Evolution. Or have folks poo-poo a rational explanation because the idea of reincarnation just fits the "facts" so much better. And when someone who tries to put the rational view forward and discount the superstition, let's call that person "intolerant" of others beliefs.

      There! Now, I am going to pray to the almighty Zeus - the creator and master of ALL gods - so that HE'll forgive all this science non-sense and the worship of the mythical God of Abraham.

      • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday November 14, 2010 @12:25AM (#34219868)

        How about we add onto that -- everyone knows sports heroes and rock stars contribute far more to a society than advances in the hard sciences and engineering. We all know that 300 years from now, Justin Bieber's song lyrics will be immortalized and will become a must study for every student in future times, while the advances in graphene, memristors, and biofuels are absolutely meaningless and will be forgotten in ten years.

        It is far more important for high schools to have the football stadiums, and as big, if not larger Jumbotrons than the rival. Far more important than funding science labs, or hiring and retaining competent staff. Woe to the school district that doesn't have available skyboxes for parties during the Friday night games.

    • by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:50PM (#34219130) Homepage

      We should support Teachers; however, My 8 year old student should also have the benefit of a Union.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We should support Teachers; however, My 8 year old student should also have the benefit of a Union.

        Then tell her to get off her dead ass and organize.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:52PM (#34219142)
      I strongly disagree with every point you've made, but I guess that's the point isn't it? We're making debt an addiction and never letting anyone get better.

      The US needs to change its financial industry's philosophy of squeezing every penny out of its own people rather than increasing the productivity out of its real investments. People are not their investment, they are their junkies.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Degro (989442)
        We're in debt because taxes have been cut far too drastically over the last couple decades. Wealthy people have been buying their way into office, cutting taxes and then acting all surprised when there's not enough money to pay for even the most basic public services. Their solution, of course? Cut services. Fuck the tired and poor - we got ours. High taxes made the U.S. what it is (social security, interstates, medicare, space ships).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pharmboy (216950)

          So we should go back to the high taxes on rich folks like we had before Reagan? Yea, the 70s were really productive years for the US.

          Perhaps we should find a balance, and understand that most people making $250k to $500k a year actually earn it, and if you overtax people in those brackets, they have no reason to continue to invest in their companies (most of them ARE self employed). So you literally tax away jobs as well when you raise taxes on the "rich" to 70%. Keep in mind that people who make just $1

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            understand that most people making $250k to $500k a year actually earn it

            Sure they earn it ... just like the winners of Publishers Clearing House and Powerball earn theirs. Good hard work, and all that.

          • by potat0man (724766) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @01:27AM (#34220126)
            People who make $380,354 or more (1% of the population) already pay 38% of ALL income taxes earned

            The fact that this is even possible indicates to me that there exists an inequity problem that NEEDS to be corrected through taxation.

            So we should go back to the high taxes on rich folks like we had before Reagan? Yea, the 70s were really productive years for the US.

            Sure, the 70's weren't so great when taxes were at 70%. But the 50's were pretty good when the top income bracket rate was 91%. So maybe the key is to get it back up to 91%.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by riverat1 (1048260)

            And yet the 1950's and 1960's were very productive and the top marginal tax rate was 91% until JFK lowered it to around 70% in the early 1960's. Tax rates, as long as they're not ridiculous, don't have much to do with whether jobs are created or not. Businesses don't hire people because you give them a tax break. They hire people because they think they can increase their income by hiring a person more than it costs them to hire that person. The costs to a business of employing someone are paid with pre

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drsquare (530038)

            The problem is you're quoting two people known largely for their disastrous economic policies. America has been on a tax-cutting binge for decades and the result is economic stagnation. Thatcher turned entire regions of Britain into economic wastelands. Perhaps you could quote someone who has a shred of credibility.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AxeTheMax (1163705)

            Keep in mind that people who make just $159,619 or more are in the top 5% of wage earners, but pay 58% of all income taxes.

            Do by any chance the top 5% of wage earners also get an undue percentage of the total of all income?

        • US Federal Government revenue [usgovernmentrevenue.com], as a percentage of GDP has been fairly static in the post WWII period, ranging from a high of 21% of GDP to a low of 15% of GDP with upward and downward fluctuations throughout the period. However, absolute revenues have increased from 46 billion in 1946 to 2104.5 billion in 2009. Your post assumes that the increase in GDP that permits the fed to collect vastly increasing revenues over this period has no relation to the drastically reduced taxes (which, curiously, are not re
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Godskitchen (1017786)

        People should be responsible for their actions. This includes the debt they accumulate. We shouldn't have to legislate to the lowest common denominator.

    • While we are at it could we shift more money away from the early (K-12) education system and put it to better use, I hear the military could use some extra cash right now?
    • by Godskitchen (1017786) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:22PM (#34219326)

      "Making college free" - you mean using tax dollars to pay the tuition for... everyone? As it stands, probably 50% of the people who show up for class at university should have settled for trade school. Instead, they will spend 5-6 years getting a philosophy or art degree and then working as an assistant manager at Borders. I don't want to subsidize this any more than I already have to (interest deferred school loans).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jpstanle (1604059)

        Maybe we just increase the subsidies for students in math, science, and engineering?

        In addition to making the desperately needed technical degrees more affordable and available, doing so might provide the impetus for many students to actually choose those technical degrees.

    • by afidel (530433)
      Interest rates high? Stafford loans are at 4.5% for this year and 3.4% for next year which isn't exactly high, but since the loans are almost zero risk they should probably be closer to prime this year.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Interests rate so high? We're you born in the 90s or something?

    • how about dropping filler classes like art history and other off your major stuff just to fill a needed # of college courses. Some colleges have up to 1 year of filler that can be cut to save costs and let you take less time and or more class on your major.

  • by DebateG (1001165) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:37PM (#34219054)
    The prestigious science journal Nature recently had an article on the best cities for science. They have some really cool interactive graphs [nature.com] showing scientific productivity of different parts of the world and how many citations each place gets. What struck me was how quickly China grew in terms of volume of publications, but how poorly their articles were cited. Whether that is due to papers being published in primarily Chinese language journals, the papers of being of poor quality, or the scientific community ignoring important papers coming from China for whatever reason is unclear, but I think it shows that other countries have a while to go before achieving scientific dominance.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @09:53PM (#34219152) Homepage
      I, for one, welcome our new Mandarin speaking Chinese research Overlords. Or not.

      Given the fact that China, India, Brazil and a host of other countries are trying to shed their 'third world' moniker, I would both expect and accept the fact that these countries are starting to do more research.

      I'm not sure how anyone expects them to improve their technology base otherwise unless it's to simply to buy everything from the US / UK / EU. Where's the fun in that? Furthermore, it's not like the entrenched powers are keen on sharing much of what we know with other countries. So what the hell do you expect them to do? You can't download everything from the Internet.

      And besides, the US really needs this to occur. We need some scary boogeyman (preferably foreign) to create some sort of gap that we have to fill lest the American Way of Life become endangered. I am really hoping that the Chinese get a viable manned space program going in a few years so we can 'catch up'.
    • by pcgamez (40751)

      A major part of my job is tracking down research that has been done on various topics and passing it along to a user. Every time I do a search for one of my users I use about 30 different databases (ScienceDirect, Worldcat, Google Scholar, etc.). What can I use for Chinese journals? Yes, there are a few databases (whose names I can't recall off the top of my head), but they are extremely limited. I don't have the sorting and filtering abilities I do with other databases. Oftentimes the title and abstract ar

  • obviously (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by roman_mir (125474)

    it is obvious why this is happening, it was obvious in this comment [slashdot.org], it was also obvious much earlier, but it's hard to find much earlier references.

    But I was just considered to be 'funny' [slashdot.org] because I stated the reasons and the solutions to economic problems that are experienced by the western world and 'economies' that have very high social obligations and expectations.

    here is how it will end for USA [slashdot.org]

  • Not enough info (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:19PM (#34219304)

    I realize the linked article is in the Economist - but there's very little information regarding the methodology behind UNESCO's conclusions. What little that is there leads me to believe they're just doing bulk counting without regard to quality.

    From what I've seen (FWLIW I work in a university engineering department), the top minds of countries such as India and China do their best to get out of there. They take faculty positions in the US; they go to Europe; or they go to Taiwan or Japan.

    And while the article seems to imply that the lack of citation of China's journals from the western world might be some degree of latent racism, it provides zero evidence to support that conclusion. I am also left to wonder why Indian and Chinese scientists working in the west don't seem to have that problem.

  • by xtal (49134) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:45PM (#34219440)

    My father has a PhD from a fancy school in the US. (Genetics)

    When I was looking at a career path, he warned me off pure science. He was right.

    Fighting for tenure and the climate towards R&D in general is nuts.

    The days of Bell labs, PARC et. al were great - people forget many of the advances today came out of those investments made by public and private industry.

    Now, increasingly, advances in semiconductor manufacturing, wireless tech - all comes from overseas.

    Sigh.
     

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rich0 (548339)

      The days of Bell labs, PARC et. al were great...

      Keep in mind that Bell Labs was largely the result of utility regulation.

      The profit model for Bell was costs+x%. The more cost they had, the more profit they made, courtesy of the utilities commission. So, as long as the research had ANYTHING to do indirectly with the phone system it was paid for. The company didn't really care if it was useful, although obviously they had some incentive to try to get additional value from it.

      Companies have learned how to s

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Goldsmith (561202)

      Exactly right.

      We have no shortage of scientists in the US; there's actually a good argument that we have a big surplus compared to the number of researchers investors and businesses are willing to fund. We've increased the number of people we're training while simultaneously experiencing the near complete destruction of the commercial basic science R&D market (hint: pharmaceutical research =/= basic science). Research is done in universities, then moved into startups which employ 1 PhD scientist and a

  • PacRim Jim (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PacRim Jim (812876)
    Judging from an admittedly non-rigorous sampling of U.S. technical journals, much of the domestic U.S. corporate and university R&D is being done by Chinese and Indian nationals. Would someone please explain the wisdom of American universities allocating scarce graduate positions and funding to foreigners with no intention of staying in the U.S. It's a puzzle to this taxpayer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Those 'scare' graduate positions are filled with highly qualified students willing to work for less than minimum wage. I know - I did it, and there was no great line of equally qualified Americans waiting for my job. And if you think that we have no intention of staying, I suggest you look at the makeup of the faculty at these universities.

      They the best people for the job, and significantly lower the bar for US students. I've been on recruitment committees - some places are allocated domestic ahead of time,

  • Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states.

    I'm sure it was many years before Terminus overtook Trantor in the sciences as well.

  • It's our own fault (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @12:27AM (#34219872) Homepage

    I don't know how it is in America, but here in the Netherlands a lot of Chinese and Indian people come here to get their Ph.D. They write their thesis and a few articles, get their Ph.D., and go back to where they came from, taking all the experience that you need for performing their specific 'trick' with them. One Ph.D. costs on average around 400.000 euros. I think when these people leave for their home country we should at least make them pay part of that money back. If they can't they have to stay here and we can pluck the fruits of our investment.

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