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Stella
Mar 29, 2011, 07:26 AM
China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 - far earlier than expected. That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK's national science academy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12885271T

skunk
Mar 29, 2011, 07:34 AM
How do you measure "scientific output"? On a purely numerical basis?

simsaladimbamba
Mar 29, 2011, 07:38 AM
How do you measure "scientific output"? On a purely numerical basis?

The figures are based on the papers published in recognised international journals listed by the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier.
...
In 1996, the first year of the analysis, the US published 292,513 papers - more than 10 times China's 25,474.

By 2008, the US total had increased very slightly to 316,317 while China's had surged more than seven-fold to 184,080.
from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12885271

482214
Mar 29, 2011, 07:39 AM
China will be the number 1 World leader in many fields within a decade.

Take what you see coming from China on a daily basis and multiply that by 100... Their cards are kept close to the chest!

skunk
Mar 29, 2011, 07:40 AM
...

from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12885271So, yes, on a purely numerical basis. Not much use as a metric.

482214
Mar 29, 2011, 07:42 AM
So, yes, on a purely numerical basis. Not much use as a metric.

This is science... Numerics are implied

AAPLaday
Mar 29, 2011, 07:45 AM
China will be the number 1 World leader in many fields within a decade.

Take what you see coming from China on a daily basis and multiply that by 100... Their cards are kept close to the chest!

I reckon India will be the next 'China' in the next 20 or so years

482214
Mar 29, 2011, 07:49 AM
I reckon India will be the next 'China' in the next 20 or so years

I've spent time in both countries covering various locations... In my opinion India will never be able to organise itself and work together for the greater good to be a real world power.

Lone Deranger
Mar 29, 2011, 08:37 AM
The glory days of the west are waning. The empire never ended.

Ugg
Mar 29, 2011, 08:44 AM
I've spent time in both countries covering various locations... In my opinion India will never be able to organise itself and work together for the greater good to be a real world power.

Although I've never been there I agree with you. India has too much corruption and too much poverty. The few bright spots in India are easily overshadowed.

Eraserhead
Mar 29, 2011, 09:17 AM
I reckon India will be the next 'China' in the next 20 or so years

Historically they have been #1 and #2 so it would be expected.

arkitect
Mar 29, 2011, 09:19 AM
The glory days of the west are waning. The empire never ended.

The empire never ended?

As far as I know they're all one with Nineveh and Tyre…

freeny
Mar 29, 2011, 09:30 AM
But we have Creationism, so all is ok.

Rodimus Prime
Mar 29, 2011, 09:33 AM
I can not say that I surprised by this.

China is going to become number 1 in that area at some point just because of raw population size.

1.3 billion vs 315 million. Kind of a huge difference.

remmy
Mar 29, 2011, 12:05 PM
Surprised to see the UK up that high on the list.

Berlepsch
Mar 29, 2011, 03:07 PM
...
Originally Posted by BBC News
The figures are based on the papers published in recognised international journals listed by the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier.
from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12885271

This reminds me that I once rejected a paper submitted by a Chinese group because of the 32 references they cited, 31 shared co-authors with the article I was refereeing (basically ignoring all research on the topic outside their own lab). Maybe they submitted the paper to the next journal on their list until they got it published.

I should add, though, that I have also seen very good work from Chinese colleagues, it just tends to be more the exception than the rule.

Eraserhead
Mar 29, 2011, 03:36 PM
Surprised to see the UK up that high on the list.

UK Universities are very, very good.

appleguy123
Mar 29, 2011, 04:34 PM
This honestly doesn't surprise me. Just yesterday on my Facebook I had some creationist decide to tell me that 'Evolution was stupid'. And that I am an idiot for 'believing in it.' I have a quote from it, I'm not even going to bother fixing the grammar.
(Name omitted) escribió: "see dude your not listening, your still trying to use earthly knowledge to describe faith in a supernatural God. and no evolution cannot exist with God because MY GOD made man out of the dust of the earth and made woman out of mans rib. and im not using logic. im in no way shape or form trying to use knowledge of this world, logic or science of any form to PROVE God, i dont think your getting this. science means absolutly nothing to me, theorys and things of this nature dont mean didly squat when you get to heaven. when you get to the judgment day and start spouting off a bunch of science terms trying to justify yourself God isnt going to give your flaud science a second look. Hes going to ask you if you read the ONE TRUE science book, the only one that truly matters"
This comment got several likes.
I think that in America we have a fundamental disconnect between science and the laypeople. It is popular on TV or in person to flaunt your ignorance of science as though it qualified you for some award.
Science is seen as something separate from our culture, even diatonically opposed to it. Imagine if someone flaunted their ignorance of Shakespeare or of World War II. They would be laughed at. This is because History and Literature are parts of our culture, and until Science can do the same, we will continue to fall behind other countries.

TuffLuffJimmy
Mar 29, 2011, 04:39 PM
This comment got several likes.
Honestly I would have liked that post too, but only for the word "flaud." :p

Sydde
Mar 29, 2011, 04:55 PM
Honestly I would have liked that post too, but only for the word "flaud." :p

You found it flaudable?

gkarris
Mar 29, 2011, 05:08 PM
This honestly doesn't surprise me. Just yesterday on my Facebook I had some creationist decide to tell me that 'Evolution was stupid'. And that I am an idiot for 'believing in it.' I have a quote from it, I'm not even going to bother fixing the grammar.

This comment got several likes.
I think that in America we have a fundamental disconnect between science and the laypeople. It is popular on TV or in person to flaunt your ignorance of science as though it qualified you for some award.
Science is seen as something separate from our culture, even diatonically opposed to it. Imagine if someone flaunted their ignorance of Shakespeare or of World War II. They would be laughed at. This is because History and Literature are parts of our culture, and until Science can do the same, we will continue to fall behind other countries.

There's people that would disagree: The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, John Glenn, the list goes on and on...

Though I would agree that the amount of people who believe Science is important has greatly diminished lately.

FYI: Many nowadays don't even know about Shakespeare or WWII... :eek:

Lord Blackadder
Mar 29, 2011, 05:14 PM
Much of this is scaremongering - the Chinese publish more papers, therefore they have "overtaken us in science". It sounds like a grade school playground argument.

appleguy123
Mar 29, 2011, 05:18 PM
There's people that would disagree: The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, John Glenn, the list goes on and on...

Though I would agree that the amount of people who believe Science is important has greatly diminished lately.

FYI: Many nowadays don't even know about Shakespeare or WWII... :eek:

But do they advertise their ignorance in Literature or History? I haven't ran into it.
Many people see a lack of scientific knowledge as some cool new age trend. I'm not just talking about Creationism either.
-Homeopathy
-Faith healing
-Psychics
-Those apply kinesiology bracelets
-The resurgence of old pagan religions
-ghosts and spiritualism
I could go on.
All of these things are side effects of science not being part of our culture in the same way that other subjects are.

Lord Blackadder
Mar 29, 2011, 05:29 PM
Many people see a lack of scientific knowledge as some cool new age trend.

99% of your religious fundamentalists and New Agers make a beeline to the hospital in the event of serious injury or illness. That in itself ought to demonstrate how much stock we all put in science. People talk of faith and/or alternative medicine, but if it's a choice between a known treatment and death...

appleguy123
Mar 29, 2011, 05:36 PM
99% of your religious fundamentalists and New Agers make a beeline to the hospital in the event of serious injury or illness. That in itself ought to demonstrate how much stock we all put in science. People talk of faith and/or alternative medicine, but if it's a choice between a known treatment and death...

Clearly if you break your arm, you will go to a real doctor, but how many people in 1st world countries with real medicine try homeopathy or other alternative medicines for things like insomnia or colds or even cancer treatments(because many believe that chemo is worse than cancer).
Also what about that anti-vaccine movement that still has adherents even though we have known that the science behind its link to Autism is bunk for some time?

WillEH
Mar 29, 2011, 05:48 PM
My personal opinion is that China is the new superpower of the world, and will be for a while. This does not surprise me in the slightest. I feel we in England lost our superpower a long time ago, we pretty much get bullied in to anything lately.

Lord Blackadder
Mar 29, 2011, 05:57 PM
Clearly if you break your arm, you will go to a real doctor, but how many people in 1st world countries with real medicine try homeopathy or other alternative medicines for things like insomnia or colds or even cancer treatments(because many believe that chemo is worse than cancer).
Also what about that anti-vaccine movement that still has adherents even though we have known that the science behind its link to Autism is bunk for some time?

Alternative medicine is very faddish in some circles, and faith healing has its vocal adherents. But I can assure you that once people suspect they have a potentially life-threateninig illness or injury they reach for the phone and call a hospital, not a touch healer or a priest. Those who do otherwise exist on the lunatic fringe. I am of course assuming modern medicine is physically accessible.

63dot
Mar 29, 2011, 06:02 PM
My personal opinion is that China is the new superpower of the world, and will be for a while. This does not surprise me in the slightest. I feel we in England lost our superpower a long time ago, we pretty much get bullied in to anything lately.

I think this is probably true. The transition into China being the next superpower, after England, Soviet Union, USA, will take some time. I think managing so many people will slow China down while at the same time producing a large pool of scientists, writers, artists, athletes, business visionaries, and diplomats/politicians.

China will have to probably ditch communism, if they haven't already, and improve their human rights record if they want to be seen as a leader in today's world. They have a lot of catching up to do but it doesn't seem like any country is going to pose themselves as any serious competition to China for many years to come.

appleguy123
Mar 29, 2011, 06:05 PM
Alternative medicine is very faddish in some circles, and faith healing has its vocal adherents. But I can assure you that once people suspect they have a potentially life-threateninig illness or injury they reach for the phone and call a hospital, not a touch healer or a priest. Those who do otherwise exist on the lunatic fringe. I am of course assuming modern medicine is physically accessible.

I'm not really making the claim that people don't trust the results of science. I'm saying that ignorance of Science is not shunned enough and as a result people can easily be tricked by things like homeopathy or alternative medicine. They don't realize that if alternative medicine worked, it would just be called 'medicine.'
For example if you ask people why antibiotics need to change over time, I bet that most of the people you asked wouldn't know the answer, but it doesn't even matter to people.
You don't see Jay Leno on the street asking people "What is the basic unit of heredity?" If he did, no one would laugh when some idiot on the street said "err...I don't know. Sperm?"
But if Jay Leno asked "What is a play by Shakespeare?" and someone got it wrong, he'd be a laughing stock.

Lord Blackadder
Mar 29, 2011, 06:15 PM
I think what you're calling "ignorance of science" could be subsumed under the heading of "ignorance" in general. I'm certainly in agreement that there is more than enough of that to go around these days.

I think this is probably true. The transition into China being the next superpower, after England, Soviet Union, USA, will take some time. I think managing so many people will slow China down while at the same time producing a large pool of scientists, writers, artists, athletes, business visionaries, and diplomats/politicians.

It's possible. But nothing dictates that a new superpower or superpowers must rise to take the place of the US at some point. The existence of "superpowers" is not necessarily the global political default. China's future trajectory is still very unclear.

appleguy123
Mar 29, 2011, 06:17 PM
I think what you're calling "ignorance of science" could be subsumed under the heading of "ignorance" in general. I'm certainly in agreement that there is more than enough of that to go around these days.

Do you know of any other field where being ignorant of it is a cool position to take?

Lord Blackadder
Mar 29, 2011, 06:19 PM
It depends on which crowd you associate with.

skunk
Mar 29, 2011, 06:20 PM
Do you know of any other field where being ignorant of it is a cool position to take?Yes. Religion.

Sydde
Mar 29, 2011, 07:36 PM
Just stumbled upon

another interesting China piece on the beeb (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12895157)

Not only are their brains in better shape, apparently their foresight for sustainable infrastructure is better tuned as well. According to this story, their investment in green/renewable energy accounts for more that one fifth the world's total. Instead of pissing away their lead as the US has, they are laying their groundwork for the future.

Though, of course, we know unregulated, profitability-centric free-market capitalism always produces superior results. Right?

Iscariot
Mar 29, 2011, 08:18 PM
http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20110329.gif

JoeG4
Mar 29, 2011, 09:14 PM
I know I'll be laughed at, but as an American scientist myself (engineering student in California...) I don't feel our role in the world (as far as important scientific contributions to society) will diminish.

astrorider
Mar 29, 2011, 09:26 PM
But do they advertise their ignorance in Literature or History? I haven't ran into it.
Many people see a lack of scientific knowledge as some cool new age trend. I'm not just talking about Creationism either.
-Homeopathy
-Faith healing
-Psychics
-Those apply kinesiology bracelets
-The resurgence of old pagan religions
-ghosts and spiritualism
I could go on.
All of these things are side effects of science not being part of our culture in the same way that other subjects are.

Carl Sagan wrote a book (http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469) about it 15 years ago.

MyDesktopBroke
Mar 30, 2011, 10:13 AM
Science papers are a dime a dozen. "Publish or perish" and all that. Applicable, innovative science is what's actually important, so if this entire thing is purely based on the quantity, no quality, it's fairly meaningless.

What's the content of China's science output? Is it simply disproving or supporting existing theories? Is it all about testing existing hypotheses?

Liquorpuki
Mar 30, 2011, 12:22 PM
I know I'll be laughed at, but as an American scientist myself (engineering student in California...) I don't feel our role in the world (as far as important scientific contributions to society) will diminish.

I'm an engineer and the profession is extremely undervalued in the US. We attach the word "engineer" to any profession - software engineer, test engineer, manufacturing engineer, even if they don't do any any actual engineering. In other countries, "engineer" is a prestigious title - you have to be board licensed to call yourself one, and to get licensed you need a body of experience. Here in the US, most engineers don't even bother to get their PE, much less their EIT. I'm really not surprised our science education sucks when our educational culture tells us it's okay to under-excel.

As far as China though, here's what they don't do well. Part of why they've grown so fast is their federal regulation totally sucks and corruption is rampant. Every year they export something poisonous and end up having to execute citizens or government officials to save face. That lack of regulation is a catalyst for everything from faulty products to a lack of respect for international IP to exploited labor.

As much as we complain about wealth distribution over here, wealth stratification in China is a bigger problem. China produces a ton of millionaries every year, and they do so on the backs of a billion laborers that can be exploited, paid close to nothing and be required to work ridiculous hours. Their government is already dealing with a ton of social unrest and poverty-related crimes. Unlike us, they're still developing, so income disparity problems over there is only going to get worse.

And China might become a superpower but it's going to have a tough time becoming a hegemony since their political ideology is at odds with most of the developed world. That's why whenever some world crisis happens, China usually keeps its mouth shut and stays in the cut. If they ever get close to becoming the world hegemony, then I'll worry.

Lord Blackadder
Mar 30, 2011, 01:03 PM
As a grad student, I TA'd a number of undergraduate classes consisting mostly of engineering students (I went to a school with a strong engineering program). There were a number of Chinese students in the classes, and almost every single one of them had major problems with plagiarism. I continually caught them lifting passages directly from the internet; they rarely bothered to even blend the stolen passages cleanly into their papers.

China's educational/academic realm is riddled with plagiarism: (http://www.uschina.usc.edu/w_usct/showarticle.aspx?articleID=16527&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1)

“Honesty is not only unacknowledged, but often regarded as stupidity,” comments Fang, who also recognizes the lack of integrity in China’s youth on his website, which is banned in China and blocked by the government. “The scientific spirit can still be found in those older and retired generation Chinese scientists, but has largely been lost in the younger and more active generation.”
In addition, a September 2010 study conducted by Zhang Yuehong, 692 of 2,233 of papers submitted to the Journal of Zhejiang University–Science turned out to have included plagiarized material – an overwhelming 31 percent of submissions. The publication, which was designated as a key academic journal by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, was the first in China to sign up for a plagiarism-screening service called CrossCheck.

There plenty of indications that China's plagiarism problem has clear cultural antecedents:

The history of China’s education system helps to explain why plagiarism is perceived and handled differently in China.

“The purpose of education from the very beginning was to prepare government officials instead of seeking the truth, instead of to create knowledge,” explains Li. “Pursuing knowledge is not really emphasized in the long history of China. What’s emphasized is building character, rote memorizing, to be obedient and loyal to the government.”

And

One of the potential causes behind plagiarism that Friedman identifies is the difference between the individual and the community in China.
“There is definitely this sort of tension between the individual and the community; I saw that, whether in my classroom or even outside,” Friedman says, referring to his experience teaching in Guangzhou. “There are definitely people with individual traits; it’s not that everyone dresses and acts the same. But in terms of ideas, there’s this hesitancy to come across as distinct from everyone else. And once again, there are many reasons for that. Part if it just community – don’t rock the boat.”
Friedman further linked that idea directly to the problematical concept in China of intellectual property rights.
“Stamping out plagiarism means you are elevating out individual ideas; you’re saying your ideas have value and they should be protected,” explains Friedman. “That goes against the grain of the entire societal construct in China and what the government is protecting.”

In the course of my (admittedly limited) reading of Chinese history, one clear cultural trait is obvious - the Chinese do not value individualism or individual achievement to the extent that western cultures do. The notion of standing out from the crowd is seen as "rocking the boat", or assuming an untoward self-importance. Furthermore, Chinese communism demanded a near-total subservience to the state until the recent past, and punished individualism.

remmy
Mar 30, 2011, 01:16 PM
That last quote reminded me of something a Chinese proffesor told me, his students were brilliant, extremely clever in their understanding and knowledge, but none of them had any creativity or exceptional out of the box thinking, which is why he did not think much of them.

Eraserhead
Mar 30, 2011, 01:40 PM
As much as we complain about wealth distribution over here, wealth stratification in China is a bigger problem.

US GINI: 45.

China GINI: 41.

So as a higher GINI is less equal the US has a bigger problem than China does.

dscuber9000
Mar 30, 2011, 01:43 PM
Half of our country doesn't believe in science, this isn't surprising. :p

Liquorpuki
Mar 30, 2011, 02:57 PM
US GINI: 45.

China GINI: 41.

So as a higher GINI is less equal the US has a bigger problem than China does.

Those are 2007 numbers, not 2010

Also depends on which index you're referencing.

Hastings101
Mar 30, 2011, 03:46 PM
China can have the science, they'll sell it and it will find its way over here anyway.

Eraserhead
Mar 30, 2011, 05:01 PM
Those are 2007 numbers, not 2010

Also depends on which index you're referencing.

a) That's the latest data from the CIA world factbook, b) GINI index is the usual measure of inequality.

chrmjenkins
Mar 30, 2011, 05:41 PM
How do you measure "scientific output"? On a purely numerical basis?

Hogsheads.

ender land
Mar 31, 2011, 11:01 AM
That last quote reminded me of something a Chinese proffesor told me, his students were brilliant, extremely clever in their understanding and knowledge, but none of them had any creativity or exceptional out of the box thinking, which is why he did not think much of them.

This has been my experience in engineering school as well.

If this ever changes (which it probably will eventually, thousands if not millions of Chinese are going to college/graduate school in the USA and returning to China) it's going to be hard for the USA to maintain it's place in science/technology.

Of course who knows how the variety of social issues which exist in China will play out.

zap2
Mar 31, 2011, 11:11 AM
a) That's the latest data from the CIA world factbook, b) GINI index is the usual measure of inequality.

Not to say I don't believe you, but if your going to cite your source(as you should), why not just link them as well?

Liquorpuki
Mar 31, 2011, 12:15 PM
a) That's the latest data from the CIA world factbook, b) GINI index is the usual measure of inequality.

There is more than one GINI index. The 2010 UN GINI shows the US with a GINI of 40.8 and China with a GINI of 41.5.

Ask yourself how China is able to produce 50,000 new millionaires every year and still position itself as the cheapest manufacturing base for the rest of the world. On one hand you have a country where the top 1% owns 40% of the nation's wealth. On the other hand you have a poor majority working 12 hour days for a salary of less than $2500 a year.

Eraserhead
Mar 31, 2011, 03:26 PM
Not to say I don't believe you, but if your going to cite your source(as you should), why not just link them as well?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html


There is more than one GINI index. The 2010 UN GINI shows the US with a GINI of 40.8 and China with a GINI of 41.5.

True http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/indicators/161.html