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China The Almighty Buck Science Technology

China Tops Europe In R&D Intensity 134

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the someone-has-to-do-it dept.
ananyo writes "By pouring cash into science and technology faster than its economy has expanded, China has for the first time overtaken Europe on a key measure of innovation: the share of its economy devoted to research and development. In 2012, China invested 1.98% of its gross domestic product (GDP) into R&D — just edging out the 28 member states of the European Union, which together managed 1.96%, according to the latest estimates of research intensity, to be released this month by the OECD. The figures show that China's research intensity has tripled since 1998, whereas Europe's has barely increased (see graph). The numbers are dominated by business spending, reflecting China's push in the manufacturing and information- and communication-technology industries."
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China Tops Europe In R&D Intensity

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They might spend more, but considering all the false papers that come out of China, they're not getting much for their money. They'll continue to pirate our research for the considerable future.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The thing they seem to export the most of is grad students.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Those who spew racial stereotypes are ignoring the all-important Luddite factor. Europe may spend almost as much money as China on R & D, but given a continent full of people who pride themselves of not buying genetically modified products, what's the point of doing research on genetics? Afterf a year when Germany has just opened a record number of new coal-fired power stations to replace its foregone nuclear capacity, why should Europe keep spending money on that Large Hadron Collider when the discover
    • by m00sh (2538182)

      They might spend more, but considering all the false papers that come out of China, they're not getting much for their money. They'll continue to pirate our research for the considerable future.

      Why do we assume that China will have to come up the exact path we have been through?

      The whole models of quantity of research papers as the measure of research output is old an dated.

      Plus, most Chinese would probably publish in Chinese journals.There is no point submitting to US based journals for free and then paying hefty fees to be accessible to others.

      • by the gnat (153162)

        Plus, most Chinese would probably publish in Chinese journals.

        Nope. Segregating your country's scientific literature from the rest of the world is a good way to ensure that your scientific community remains isolated and disconnected. Besides, publishing in big-name Western journals like Science/Nature/Cell is a prestige thing, and above all the Chinese want to be taken seriously as a Major Power. (Otherwise they wouldn't be wasting time and effort trying to grab a handful of uninhabited rocks from Japan.

        • by m00sh (2538182)

          Plus, most Chinese would probably publish in Chinese journals.

          Nope. Segregating your country's scientific literature from the rest of the world is a good way to ensure that your scientific community remains isolated and disconnected. Besides, publishing in big-name Western journals like Science/Nature/Cell is a prestige thing, and above all the Chinese want to be taken seriously as a Major Power. (Otherwise they wouldn't be wasting time and effort trying to grab a handful of uninhabited rocks from Japan.)

          Absolute bullshit.

          There are plenty of such Russian and French journals, and if you want to explore what the state of the art in some of those specific fields of physics, math or statistics are, then you better learn to translate from those languages.

          And seems like you have never seen research communities in theoretical fields. They are isolated and publish for one another because their work is probably going to be understood by at most a dozen of people and their students.

          Science/Nature has been known

          • by the gnat (153162)

            And seems like you have never seen research communities in theoretical fields.

            No, as a biologist I ignore these completely.

            There is some politics involved in getting your work published into those journals. If you are a foreigner, then there is absolute no chance that you will be published there because nobody will know who you are.

            Perhaps this is still true for obscure theoretical fields, but it has not been true in the biological sciences for some time now. I see papers in my field from groups I've never

    • by ranton (36917)

      They might spend more, but considering all the false papers that come out of China, they're not getting much for their money. They'll continue to pirate our research for the considerable future.

      It would be an interesting to do research on just how influential the research coming out of China is. One pretty simple method would be to find out the ratio of Chinese research papers that are cited by European research, and vise versa. That would be a pretty good metric of how much research is just fluff, and how much is useful enough to be used by others.

      This [gbtimes.com] article seems to back up the assertion that the quality of research coming out of China is rising, but still isn't as good as research coming out

      • by Anonymous Coward

        lol, did you even read the article?

        "An even more encouraging statistic is China’s position in the top four of countries whose scientists’ research was the most cited between 2003 and 2013. This suggests that the research produced in China is as good as any in the world."

        why do you hate chinese so much? you're a joke.

        • by ranton (36917)

          lol, did you even read the article?

          "An even more encouraging statistic is China’s position in the top four of countries whose scientists’ research was the most cited between 2003 and 2013. This suggests that the research produced in China is as good as any in the world."

          why do you hate chinese so much? you're a joke.

          The paper goes on to give the numbers I mentioned in my post, that their citation rate is 65% of the world average. And note that this is a comparison with the world average, not the top countries.

          I wasn't hating on the Chinese, as I even linked to a post that gave praise to Chinese research. But I did want to point out that the country still has a long way to go. The top researchers in China are apparently doing very well, but there must be a huge amount of very questionable research for their average to b

  • Its worse than that. They actually make things rather than patenting concepts. its a good thing that we can get them to pay up for "implementing" the vague concepts we come up with,
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Its worse than that. They actually make things rather than patenting concepts. its a good thing that we can get them to pay up for "implementing" the vague concepts we come up with,

      Quite correct, they don't come up with anything new on their own. They just create cheap, poorly made, knock-off copies of things created elsewhere.

      • by JazzLad (935151) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:18AM (#45897243) Homepage
        We used to say this of Japan.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        Fortunately for them, Capitalism doesn't care. If it can be sold, it doesn't matter where it was created, how poorly made it is or how much was the idea stolen.

      • Mostly. For now. They have advanced rapidly.

    • by jalopezp (2622345)
      China's production of patents has increased tremendously in the last few years, despite the fact that most of these remain unused. It's all right there, in TFA.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    2% of 9 trillion isn't more than 2% of 13 trillion. Even then, as a US citizen I'm impressed with how Europe is taking care of her citizens, I may not be willing to eat the tax rate that comes with that but it's still impressive. How's China doing with those 1 billion peasants that have a third world standard of living? Maybe they could use some of that 180 billion to up their poorest citizen's lifestyles? Well, then they wouldn't be quite as available as migrant worker organ farms, nevermind.

    • Well, 2 things.

      The willingness to spend on R&D gives some idea on where the country will be in 10 years. Yes, some of it is spent reverse engineering things that have been built, but some of it is being spent on the industries of tomorrow. Take almost any small northern European country (Finland, Norway, Denmark) as a counter example. They are small countries1 so the absolute dollar amount spent on R&D is small, yet the high percentage spent on R&D has bought a respectable level of income.

      As for

  • by rioki (1328185) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:05AM (#45897141) Homepage

    Is it just me or are the given values borderline meaningless. The given values are percent relative to GDP, so they basically indicate the willingness to spend a higher portion of their cash flow for R&D. On an absolute scale this meaningless, a small country could spend 50% of their GDP on R&D and still have less output than a huge nation spending 1%. Then again, raw money value also does not translate to actual scientific progress.

    • by Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:10AM (#45897183)

      agreed. The method in which this is calculated really isn't described either. Even though I'm in a development role, we're pressured to demonstrate "research" when we're really just assembling code.

      US/Europe need to actually produce real stuff. Anything else is just proprietary fodder for others to take.

      • by ananyo (2519492)

        Proportion of GDP spent on research is not a 'meaningless' number. The EU spent a great deal of time trying to (unsuccessfully) urging its member states to push their total spending up to 3%. They've since realized that no single metric can adequately measure a nation's capacity to innovate in science - but this measure is still part of a basket of metrics that it's perfectly reasonable to use to examine a country's commitment to science.
        To be clear - there's little evidence that spending a lot of money sci

    • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:48AM (#45897479)

      When the third largest economy in the world (or second depending on how you put Europe together) is outspending you on metrics that lead to future growth it absolutely is a meaningful metric. As to scientific progress, this isn't just about science, it's about economics as TFA mentions this is all R&D and much of it in China is companies spending on developing existing knowledge into better, cheaper products.

      As an example take solar cells, we've had them for decades and while new research might be upping the maximum possible efficiency by 1-2% per decade at this point the Chinese have been reducing the cost per watt by 90% per decade, which is more important overall?

    • When is the last time Europe put a rover on another world?

      Face it, there are 3 major world players. US, China, Europe.

      • by jalopezp (2622345)

        It'll be a few years. [wikipedia.org] You mean to list the EU as the third power there? We can go by numbers:

        GDP

        • Europe: 16.7 trillion
        • US: 15.7 trillion
        • China: 8.3 trillion

        Population

        • China: 1362 million
        • Europe: 507 million
        • US: 317 million

        Aircraft carriers

        • US: 10
        • Europe: 5
        • China: 1

        Nobel Prizes (ignoring Literature and Peace)

        • Europe: 442 (317)
        • US: 323 (290)
        • China: 7 (4)
        • My list was by R&D spending as % of GDP. The topic of this article.

          US: 2.7
          China: 1.98
          EU: 1.96

          We can also talk about unemployment:
          China: 4.1
          US: 7
          EU: 12

          Or maybe growth rate of economy:
          China 6.8
          US 3.5
          EU 1.1

          Or people who have walked on the moon
          US 12
          China 0
          EU 0

          The EU Nobel Prize total is mostly before 1950. Since then the US has been winning the vast majority of Nobel Prizes. Recently US domination has been overwhelming.

          http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jonbruner/files/2011/10/nobel_graphic_small.png [forbes.com]

          Nobel Prize

    • by bluegutang (2814641) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:12AM (#45898289)

      Percentages relative to GDP are available too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_research_and_development_spending [wikipedia.org]

      The list goes as follows:

      1. Israel 4.2%
      2. South Korea 3.74%
      3. Japan 3.67%
      4. Sweden 3.3%
      5. Finland 3.1%
      6. United States 2.7% ...
      14. China 1.97%

      China's figure is still pretty impressive since it is the only developing country over 1% (you would expect developing countries to have low values, since providing for basic necessities is a more pressing need than in rich countries).

    • Is it just me or are the given values borderline meaningless. The given values are percent relative to GDP, so they basically indicate the willingness to spend a higher portion of their cash flow for R&D. On an absolute scale this meaningless, a small country could spend 50% of their GDP on R&D and still have less output than a huge nation spending 1%. Then again, raw money value also does not translate to actual scientific progress.

      Not to mention that costs are much higher in Europe and the west than in China making actual money value comparison equally irrelevant.

    • This data is useful if we're going to start another science race of some kind. Maybe the "Green energy race" or the "cure cancer race." Us vs China vs the EU. It'll totally be exciting for us nerds. And major bonus: we'd get useful tech out of it like we did with the space race.

      National pride hasn't disappeared. From what I hear, it's increasing in China at least. If national pride isn't harvested for something useful to all of us, then it will undoubtedly be harvested by selfish people in the mili
  • When the Chinese realize that the US and Europe are slowing down by their own choice and they don't need to do anything to catch up, they will stop this "race" and settle for keeping a nice, well armed army.
  • "China Tops Europe in Arcane & Unverifyable Propaganda Statistics From an Authoritarian Communist Country"

  • When China gets ahead ... and they will, then what!?

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