China stakes claim as global center for scientific research

Contrary to popular belief, China is doing much more than exporting clothing, toys, electronics, and other popular consumer goods. The country is on a scientific roll, to the point where it could conceivably be regarded as the emerging global center for scientific research, a new report indicates. It describes an amazing growth in chemical patenting and publishing that could bring new and innovative products to the world market ranging from pharmaceuticals to microchips, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, (C&EN) ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Sophie L. Rovner reports that China in 2009 became the world leader in the number of chemistry patent applications published annually. China published 67,000 patent applications in 2009, compared to 52,000 for Japan and 41,000 for the United States. Publication of scientific papers originating in China increased faster than any other nation during the last 10 years. The output of papers with Chinese authors more than quadrupled — from 20,000 papers in 1998 to more than 112,000 in 2008. The publication of U.S. scientific papers rose by barely 30 percent during that period.

In achieving this growth, scientists in China are embracing collaborators in the U.S. and other countries. It is becoming increasingly clear that the country is changing the “world map of research,” with China conceivably at its center, the article suggests.


“China Ascendant”

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