China poised to top US in science by 2013
China may surpass the United States as the global leader in scientific output by as early as 2013, thanks to huge investments in research and development (R&D) and education, says a new study conducted by the Royal Society, the UK's national science academy.Related: China set to be top economy by 2030Analysis of published research indicates that Chinese science has made rapid strides in recent years going by the number of papers published in the recognized international journals listed by the Scopus service of publishers Elsevier.In 1996, the US published 292,513 papers - more than 10 times China's 25,474. By 2008, the US total had increased slightly to 316,317 while China reported a more than seven-fold increase to 184,080, says the BBC.The US still leads the world, but its share of global authorship has fallen to 21 percent from 26 percent, the Royal Society found after analyzing the share of the world's authorship of scientific research papers between the periods 1993-2003 and 2004-2008.During the same period, the share of China rose to 10.2 percent from 4.4 percent, and its ranking improved from sixth to second place. Britain has remained relatively stable and is currently ranked third.Earlier estimates had indicated that China might surpass the US sometime after 2020. But the Royal Society has now made a bolder forecast in its study entitled Knowledge, Networks and Nations."A simple linear interpretation of Elsevier's publishing data suggests that this could take place as early as 2013," it says."China has heavily increased its investment in R&D, with spending growing by 20% per year since 1999 to reach over US$100 billion a year today (or 1.44% of GDP in 2007), in pursuit of its goal of spending 2.5% of GDP on R&D in 2020."