Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

The global science base of information and communication technologies: strategic analysis of scientific publication activity in the EU, USA and Japan

This part of the project presents a large-scale application of a systemic method for quantifying empirical information on ICT research activity to aid comparative studies of these science bases. Numerical data on publicly documented scientific knowledge outputs as embodied in research papers provides useful ‘bibliometric’ indicators of the absolute and relative size of ICT research output, and of geographical and institutional patterns of scientific cooperation within those science bases.

The bibliometric analyses were conducted on some 55,000 research articles published in international scientific and technical journals in the period 1992-1996. The quantitative measures describe and compare various structural characteristics of research output and scientific collaboration, featuring the countries of the trade (i.e. EU, USA and Japan).

ICT is of vital economic importance to the European Union and its national knowledge-based economies, as indicated by numerous policy studies and discussions concerning competitiveness and job creation. An important measure of an EU nation’s or region’s ability to catch-up, or respond to ICT-related trends and demands, are the relative strengths and weaknesses of their knowledge base. In particular the science base comprising of industrial research and the related publicly funded scientific activities. In order to be able to effectively describe and monitor ICT-related scientific activity, it is important to be able to provide reliable statistics of this science base at the level of countries, regions, institutional sectors and large institutions within the framework the global ICT science base.

This report presents a large-scale application of a systemic method for quantifying empirical information on ICT research activity to aid comparative studies of these science bases. Numerical data on publicly documented scientific knowledge outputs as embodied in research papers provides useful ‘bibliometric’ indicators of the absolute and relative size of ICT research output, and of geographical and institutional patterns of scientific cooperation within those science bases.

This exploratory case study was based on the CWTS ICT Database, a specially developed customized database. It provides a worldwide coverage of research papers published in high-quality international scientific and technical journals. The bibliometric analyses were conducted on some 55,000 research articles published in international scientific and technical journals in the period 1992-1996. The quantitative measures describe and compare various structural characteristics of research output and scientific collaboration, featuring the countries of the trade Triad (i.e. EU, USA and Japan), and broken down by:
- Major ICT research domain: Computers and Data Processing versus
Telecommunications;

- Institutional sector: universities and other public research institutions versus enterprises and private R&D labs;

- Aggregate level: countries versus major research performing institutions.

This large international bibliographic database and its related bibliometric indicators together provide an analytical framework and appropriate proxy measures to describe and monitor relative strengths and weaknesses of the science bases in this large and multidisciplinary area. The findings show that ICT-related research papers originate from a wide variety of institutions within the Triad, and that private firms account for a substantial part of that research output. Moreover, we find several significant differences between countries, institutional sectors, and institutions within the ICT science base of the Triad countries.

Key results concerning the EU science base are:
- The EU private sector produces a much lower share of research papers as compared to the private sector in the USA or Japan (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 11.1%; Telecommunications - 34.1%),

- EU nations are less focused on domestic research collaboration as compared to the USA or Japan (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 39.6%; Telecommunications - 37.3%). However, a significant share of the EU collaborative links involve other EU Member States (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 28.6%; Telecommunications - 33.4%),

- The EU shows a relatively low share of:
-- Inter-firm collaborative papers (EU data: Computers and Data
Processing - 5.8%; Telecommunications - 29.2%),

-- Public/private collaborative papers in Computers and Data Processing (EU data: 10.7%), but a comparatively high share in Telecommunications (EU data: 25.8%),

- Major public research institutions within the EU are:
-- Less inclined to co-author research papers with other units within the same main institution as compared to their counterparts in the US (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 19.4%; Telecommunications - 8.7%),

-- More inclined to co-author research papers with US firms than vice versa (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 4.6%; Telecommunications - 6.9%),

-- More inclined to co-author research papers with other PRIs outside the Triad (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 10.9%; Telecommunications - 5.1%),

- Large R&D intensive firms whose home base is located within the EU show a smaller share of research papers originating from R&D units located in their home country as compared to large US and Japanese companies (EU data: Computers and Data Processing - 74.6%; Telecommunications - 83.6%).

- Selected large EU multinationals have:
-- A propensity for collaborative links with:
(i) Public research institutions in domestic research base, and
(ii) Other firms in the EU base,

- Foreign R&D-performing affiliates or subsidiaries, which are predominantly involved in scientific collaboration with research partners in the public research sector of the host country.

Contacto

Remi BARRE
Tel.: +33-14-2223030
Fax: +33-14-5486394
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