The Chinese government's efforts to build the country's scientific base as a vector for growth are showing up in both the rankings of Chinese universities (11 of the top 100 globally) and in scholarly output. Qingnan Xie of Nanjing University of Science & Technology and Richard Freeman of Harvard University have studied China's contribution to global scientific output. They document a rapid expansion between 2000 and 2016, as the Chinese share of global publications in physical sciences, engineering, and math quadrupled. By 2016, the Chinese share exceeded that of the U.S.
The researchers conclude that Chinese academics now account for more than one-third of global publications in these scientific fields.
The quality of Chinese research is also improving, though it currently remains below that of U.S. academics. A recent analysis suggests that, measured not just by numbers of papers but also by citations from other academics, Chinese scholars could become the global leaders in the near future.
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