Ranking Countries by Scientific Publication Citations: USA, UK, Germany…

Posted on January 24, 2015  Comments (1)

The SCImago Journal and Country Rank provides journal and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database. I posted about this previously (in 2014, 2011 and 2008).

The data in the post is based on their data from 1996 through 2013. The web site also lets you look at these ranking by very specific categories. For example biotechnology #1 USA, #2 Germany, #3 UK, #4 Japan, #12 China or human computer interaction #1 USA, #2 Germany, #3 UK #4 Japan, #13 China).

I like looking at data and country comparisons but in doing so it is wise to remember this is the results of a calculation that is interesting but hardly definative. We don’t have the ability to measure the true scientific research output by country.

The table shows the top 6 countries by h-index and then some others I chose to list.

Country h-index 2010
% of World
% of World GDP total cites

1,518 1,139 793     4.5%   22.2% 152,984,430
United Kingdom

918 689 465  0.9  3.5 37,450,384

815 607 408  1.1  5.0  30,644,118
France 742 554 376  0.9  3.8  21,193,343
Canada 725 536 370  0.5  2.4 18,826,873
Japan 635 527 372  1.8  7.8 23,633,462
Additional countries of interest (with 2013 country rank)
16) China 436 279 161  19.2  11.7  14,752,062
19) South Korea 375 258 161    .7  1.7  5,770,844
22) Brazil 342 239 148  2.8  3.0 4,164,813
23) India 341 227 146  17.5  2.6 5,666,045

This data makes a good case for the USA, UK, Germany… producing a very high level of very influential science publications. Whether Italy (#7) is obviously more influential than Brazil (#22) or India (#23) I think is fairly questionable.

Read more about the h-index (Hirsh index). Country population and GDP data taken World Development Indicators 2013, by the World Bank.

Without doing any analysis it seems to me the data shows that scientific influence is heavily correlated with GDP (and also GDP per capita). Also while GDP changes (for a country as a percent of world GDP) generally are fairly slow (China’s may not be but nearly everyone else is) I would guess scientific influences is even slower to change – but it will change in a fashion correlated with relative GDP.

My belief is there is a system reinforcing effect, greater GDP allows more scientific research (and investing in universities, etc.) which increase economic growth down the road, which provides more income to invest in scientific research and so on.

Some countries, the USA for example, are more effective at turning scientific research into GDP gains. Where countries are more effective at doing so it reinforces investing in science. It also encourages leading scientists interested in business applications to be tempted to move to the USA which then helps the USA scientific influence and so on.

Related: Math Education Results Show China, Singapore, Korea and Japan at the TopWorldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree DataChart of Global Stock Market Capitalization by Country from 2000 to 2012

One Response to “Ranking Countries by Scientific Publication Citations: USA, UK, Germany…”

  1. Adrian
    January 30th, 2015 @ 9:29 am

    Interesting to see, but I actually had a question – where could we find the whole list of the countries, provided it still exists? I wanted to check where my country has landed and it is not in either of the links you have provided.

    Thank you for the post.

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