Science Geography Changes
Global research production can be a study from diverse perspectives: disciplinary performance, economic maturity (established economies and emerging economies), or combining diverse production rates. It is also relevant to integrate static and dynamic analysis to better understand the phenomenon of knowledge production globally, looking at evolution in regions and countries. Besides the growth of scientific production worldwide, with more articles being published, the remarkable fact is that this production is no longer confined to the developed countries (Hollanders and Soete, 2010; Leydesdorff and Wagner, 2009).
Jonathan Adams (2013) studied the evolution of the balance of international and domestic research collaboration for established economies, the USA, the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and emerging ones like China, India, South Korea, Brazil, and Poland. This study is based on research papers over the period from 1981 to 2012, indexed on the Web of Science. The author shows how this evolution during the period of the last three decades is significant.
Radosevic and Yoruk (2014) analyzed the changing role of world regions in science from 1981 to 2011. Their approach is both from quantity and impact perspectives and is thus distinguished between published (P) papers and citations (C). They found that the global shift in science is largely in terms of quantity (papers) and much less (so far) in terms of relative impact. They found that “science systems operate with high inertia and in the areas of their historically inherited advantages and disadvantages” (Radosevic and Yoruk, 2014, p. 16). Next, they compared world regions in terms of publication: EU15 and North America have converged in relative shares, and there has been a remarkable catch-up of Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East.
These authors explore the long-term changes in world science by looking science not only by the side of its outputs (specifically publications), but also considering science as an activity, which denotes absorptive capacity and as world frontier knowledge activity. Absorptive capacity is defined as the ability to learn and implement knowledge or, in the context of science, the ability to recognize the value of new, external information, assimilate it, and apply it in another context (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990). To study patterns on absorptive capacity, they analyze a number of publications; to study participation in world frontier knowledge, they analyze the impact of papers.
It is necessary to go beyond the stage of absorptive capacity and move toward participation in knowledge production in world frontier knowledge. Radosevic and Yoruk (2014, p. 22) combine analysis of static and dynamic specializations and show “strong historically rooted regional patterns with only some new developments. ” These authors aggregated the data into four major scientific areas (life, fundamental, applied, and social sciences)1 and compare them in the eight world regions (North America, EU15, South EU, Central and Eastern Europe, former USSR, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East). For the purpose of our study, we selected four of these regions: North America, EU15, Latin America, and Asia Pacific (see Fig. 1.1).
North America and EU15 continue to be highly specialized in life sciences [publications (P)_and citations (C)]. Among the catching up regions, Latin America’s dynamic position in life sciences is relevant. This is the result of favorable science policies in the past few decades, especially in Argentina and Brazil; this region has also managed to reach
Fig. 1.1 Changing role of the four world regions in major fields of science publications and citations. (Source: Based on Radosevic and Yoruk (2014))
above world average growth rates in published papers in both fundamental and engineering sciences (Garg, 2003; Radosevic and Yoruk, 2014; Yang et al., 2012). When we look at fundamental sciences behavior, EU15 has higher than world average growth rates. Radosevic and Yoruk (2014) note that Latin America and Asia Pacific are located at potential opportunities quadrant. Related to applied sciences is an area with strong diverging regional dynamics: EU15 increased the number of papers and citations; Asia Pacific has been specializing in applied sciences with close links to its manufacturing capabilities; and Latin America has a favorable position.
In general, in terms of world share of citations, “North America continues to lead while EU15 grows albeit at a moderate pace; South EU has been growing strongly as have the Middle East and Latin America while the remarkable catch up of Asia Pacific in terms of quantity (papers) has not yet manifested itself in citations (impact)” (Radosevic and Yoruk, 2014, p. 1907).
Another change is related to the research written language; because of growth of the number of indexed journals of Latin America and the Caribbean in Web of Science and Scopus, Portuguese has been promoted as the second scientific language. This large volume of scientific papers, written in Latin languages, gained visibility and recognition worldwide, which gives it a high potential to be cited. Using this rich resource will contribute to the advancement of science and have an impact. Additionally, this will bring growing weight to the importance of the knowledge produced in Latin languages. Online publishing of bilingual articles is easy for journals in the era of the worldwide web; this is a facilitator to disseminate knowledge to find the lost science, hidden under a strange language (Collazo-Reyes, 2014; Gibbs, 1995; Miorando and Pinho, 2013; Packer, 2012).