China rockets to second in science publications
China has rocketed into second place in the number of articles published in international science magazines, according to a report released Monday by the Royal Society in London.
While the top 10 is filled with major Western powers, their share of research papers published is falling, while nations such as China, Brazil and India are growing.
Also on the rise but further behind are Iran and Turkey.
China has shot up from sixth place in the period 1999-2003 (4.4 percent of the total) to second place behind the United States with 10.2 percent over the years 2004-08, overtaking Japan.
The United States remains in the top spot, but has seen its share shrink from 26.4 percent to 21.2 percent.
Japan has slipped from second to fourth, falling from 7.8 percent to 6.1 percent, while Britain has remained third with its share at 6.5 percent, down from 7.1 percent.
Germany, in fifth place, published six percent, down from seven percent, while France, in sixth, published 4.4 percent, down from five percent.
They were followed by Canada, Italy, Spain and India.
"The scientific world is changing and new players are fast appearing," said Chris Llewellyn Smith, who chaired the study at the Royal Society, Britain's national science academy.
"Beyond the emergence of China, we see the rise of southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, north African and other nations.
"The increase in scientific research and collaboration, which can help us to find solutions to the global challenges we now face, is very welcome.
"However, no historically dominant nation can afford to rest on its laurels if it wants to retain the competitive economic advantage that being a scientific leader brings."
The Royal Society's findings were published in its report entitled "Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century".
Outside the top 10, Turkey improved its scientific performance rate at a speed almost rivalling China, with four times as many papers with Turkish authors published in 2008 as in 1996.
Meanwhile Iran was the fastest-growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications, rising from 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008.
© 2011 AFP