Sunday, March 1, 2015

Evidence against the “STEM crisis”: US leads world in seeking scientific knowledge

Wang et. al. (2012) calculated the number of scientific articles downloaded over a 24 hour period (April 12, 2012) by individual country.  Here are the top ten, with the number downloaded and the country’s share of the total, from Wang et. al. table 1.

United States: 61,361 (29.62%)
Germany 31,122 (15.02%)
China 19, 826 (9.57%)
UK  8066 (3.89%)
Japan 6915 (3.34%)
Canada 6752 (3.26%)
Australia 6020 (2.91%)
India 5552 (2.68%)
France 4880  (2.36%)
South Korea 4630 (2.23%)

The US was the clear winner.  In terms of downloads per capita, Germany is first and the US second.

The US also leads the world in “prestige” journal publications (SCI/SSCI approved journals), with 474,306 in 2011. Second place China had 170,896.

We are constantly told that the United States is suffering a crisis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  This data, however, suggests that the US is the world leader in seeking new knowledge about STEM subjects.

Wang, X. W., Xu, S. M., Peng, L., Wang, Z., Wang, C. L., Zhang, C. B., & Wang, X. B. (2012). Exploring Scientists’ Working Timetable: Do Scientists Often Work Overtime? Journal of Informetrics, 6(4), 655-660.

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