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Blog

Brazil and Spain top the table

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Ibero-America Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

By James Dacey

Academic institutions in Spain and Brazil account for nearly 70% of all scientific papers from Ibero-America published during the period 2003–2008. This political region incorporates Spain, Portugal and countries in the Americas that are former colonies of these two European nations.

The study, carried out by the SCImago Research group, found that Spain and Brazil each produced around 200,000 papers during this period, while Portugal was lagging in third place with just 50,000.

There are nearly 670 higher-education institutions within Ibero-America, with nearly 50% of these in Brazil, Colombia and Spain. Colombia’s relatively modest scientific output – just 9792 papers – is attributed to the country’s high number of small academic institutions.

The study also ranked the nations on other factors, including quality of publications (based on citations) and extent of international collaboration.

The full report (in Spanish) is available here.

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5 comments

  1. Rafael M Gutierrez

    That is because in Latinamerica, particularly in Colombia, the goverment does not see creaerly that the solution of social problems and economical challenges are efficiently overcomed through education (coherently organized at all levels, not only the easy parts), they see it on the other way round.

  2. Gustavo Pérez Alvarez

    That is because the current government in Colombia and especially the wonderful president that there is a person who sees that if the people no longer prepared to be ignorant. This president does not want this, then, that the population needs to be submissive and never complains about anything. This president ended higher education in Colombia, let alone public health does not exist. Higher education institutions have no money there to investigate, and the government does not sponsor these activities, much less create new institutions of higher education, the current government does not suit it.

  3. J. Julio E. Herrera

    It’s interesting to note that out of the 10 institutions whith greatest production, 5 are Spanish, 4 Brazilian, and 1 Mexican. I guess this could be related with the level of investment, which gives credit to the importance that Spain and Brazil have given to science, as opposed to the rest of the Ibero American countries.

  4. Luis

    Interesting but lacks analysis! With Brazil and Mexico being the largest and and most populous countries in such group I would rather suggest to normalize and rank the data by population. With such method the ranking would be like this (if I did not committed any mistake):
    1 – Portugal
    2 – Spain
    3 – Chile
    4 – Brazil
    5 – Argentina
    8 – Mexico
    9 – Colombia
    I recalculated only the first 9 countries, maybe it would be different if have taken into account the others. But the point here is that Portugal and Spain are very close in papers/habitant (about 4.5×10⁻3 papers/habitant) while in Latin America only Chile has about 1.4×10^-3 papers/habitant. Brazil and Argentina are very close with 9.3×10⁻4 and 8×10⁻4 papers/habitant. Mexico has half of the Brazilian ratio and Colombia has about half of the Mexico ratio. Such rank shows that Latin America has deep problems and lag far behind the developed countries. Another way to analyze such data would be normalize by the GDP.

  5. J. Julio E. Herrera

    Luis’ normalisation is fair and interesting. It would also be interesting to make the normalisation dividing by the number of researchers in the region who co-author the papers. Still, while this gives a good productivity index, it doesn’t inform us about the relevance of the research, which is trickier to measure. The number of citations is the standard indicator, but when it comes to developing countries it doesn’t tell the full story. One of the problems is that it is sometimes more difficult to produce a certain result in a developing country than in a developed one, due to the lack of infrastructure. Even the cost may be greater, since manufacturers of scientific equipment will make extra charges. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know how many papers are theoretical, as opposed to experimental, since the former are less expensive and consume less man-power that the latter.

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