Hot Off the Presses: U.S.A. Science Now Third in the World

Science, November 19, 2010, p. 1032

"A new analysis of the U.S. research base by Thompson Reuters points to an increasing concentration of academic research....The report also documents the growth by Asian and European nations in overall research productivity. It notes that the 27-member European Union surpassed the United States in 1995, and that the Asian-Pacific countries did likewise for the first time in 2008....It also finds that U.S. scientists work disproportionately in the health and social sciences when compared with the rest of the world."

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Comment by John McCreery on December 5, 2010 at 1:45pm
One must, of course, be cautious in interpreting this sort of thing. All that is being measured is number of publications and number of citations. Still, it reminds me that it has already been several years since I heard the then chief economist for the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong report that in terms of regional GDP, both the EU and East Asia were already on a par with North America. The one-superpower world that seemed imminent after the fall of the Berlin Wall seems to have been a mirage. The danger of the present moment is that too many of my fellow countrymen are oblivious to this fact. To them the mirage remains reality, and any attempt to cooperate with instead of dictating to the rest of the world is seen as a sign of weakness and, thus, politically dangerous. As Bill Clinton once famously put it, the American voter prefers strong and wrong to weak and right every time.

That said, there is no question but what the tectonic plates of global social structure are changing. If you haven't seen it already, here is another, and truly wonderful illustration.
Comment by Keith Hart on December 5, 2010 at 12:56pm
I wonder if in time social science will be seen as a central plank of the American ideology. It is one of the great tragedies of modern history that defeat in WW2 led to the replacement in Germany of the intellectual tradition of Wissenschaft by American science, especially social science. The chief victims were history, dialectic, subjectivity and the idiographic.

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