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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Science Gap

Kommersant reports that Russia has 12% of the world's scientists but produces only 0.3% of the world's science. The paper attributes this science gap to Russia's obsessive focus on military spending, something La Russophobe has already pointed out Russia is in the process of renewing:

Now, when business needs up-to-date equipment to produce competitive goods, it has turned out this is exactly what Russian science cannot invent. Perhaps it can, but the process will consume too much money and time. So it is easier and more profitable for Russian entrepreneurs to buy necessary technologies abroad. In fact, this is what they do.Russian companies buy more innovations than there are offered by Russian scientists. In 2004, technology export earnings, or payments on license contracts and various copyright assignment agreements, made up nearly $350 million. However, Russian companies spend twice as much on foreign innovations as they earn by technology export, according to the Federal State Statistic Service of Russia.
One can perhaps see from the Kommersant piece that linguistic translation may well be among the scientific areas where Russia falls short -- another point La Russophobe made long ago.

Russia was dramatically below the world average for publication of significant scientific papers in every category for the period 1999-2003 according to as survey by Thompson Scientific: "Between 1999 and 2003, Thomson Scientific indexed 124,534 papers that listed at least one author address in Russia. Of those papers, the highest percentage appeared in journals categorized under the heading of physics. The citations-per-paper (impact) average for physics papers from Russia during 1999-2003 was 25% below the world impact figure in that field (2.69 citations per paper for Russia, versus a world figure of 3.57 cites per paper). " And that was Russia's best category. Overall, Russia was 118th out of 144 countries scored in "impact" of scientific papers published, or the average number of times the average paper was cited by other papers in the world community.

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