China tops list of highly cited scientific papers list: Report

China overtakes US to lead rankings for 1st time, according to Japanese institute report

ANKARA (AA) – China has for the first time claimed top spot in a global list of highly cited scientific papers, according to a report by a Japanese government-linked institute.

China topped the rankings with 40,219 papers published in three years between 2017 and 2019, followed by the US with 37,124, and the UK at 8,687, said a report released earlier this week by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy.

The papers published by Chinese researchers were “cited most in the fields of material science, chemistry, engineering as well as computer science and mathematics,” Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported.

Japan fell to a record low of 10th, with its researchers publishing “on average 3,787 highly cited papers a year in the three-year period,” the report said.

Japan had risen to fourth spot between 1997 and 1999 with 4,336 papers, according to Kyodo.

Most of the Japanese papers were cited in the fields of physics, clinical medicine, and chemistry, while the US papers were “strong in the sectors of clinical medicine, basic life sciences and physics.”

Observers blame a falling number of doctorate candidates in Japan for its decline in the rankings.

The decline has been seen since 2006 as the number of people acquiring doctoral degrees has fallen to some 15,000 annually.

The number of new doctorate degree holders has risen steadily in the US and China, currently standing at 90,000 and 60,000, respectively, according to the institute’s latest data.

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