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Science in East Asia is giving tough competition to major scientific forces

Science in East Asia is giving tough competition to major scientific forces

East Asia has emerged as an important science hub, and risen to a position where it is competing directly with the countries that have made science investment their priority. According to an article published in Nature, South Korea invests 4.24% of its gross domestic output (GDP) into science and technology, which is at par with some of the advanced countries in the west and the east such as Israel, Europe, and the U.S.

While China and Korea are the focus of the world when it comes to scientific output and science investment, other Asian countries too are making rapid progress. Here’s a quick summary of the key points highlighted in the Nature article and a quick look at some of the details of the study:

  1. Science investment: South Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia are ahead of other East Asian nations in terms of science investment. Of these, South Korea has remarkably doubled its investment in R&D. Closely following South Korea is Taiwan, which has also made a huge investment in science and technology.
  2. Government investment versus business investment: Business sector invests the most in Taiwan and South Korea, whereas in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, half of the R&D investment is done by businesses.
  3. Research community: Most of the researchers in East Asia are from South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore (this is barring mainland China and Japan). These nations are followed by Malaysia and Hong Kong in terms of the science workforce.
  4. Female representation: Female representation in research is a point of much discussion all around the globe. In Asia, they are outnumbered by men, which is the case in several countries. However, women in Malaysia form 50% of the scientific force of the country.  
  5. Volume of publication: While Taiwan’s article output is decreasing, South Korea’s has increased to 65,000, which is significant. Malaysia is not far behind and is advancing rapidly in terms of publication volume.   
  6. Citation impact: Owning to their high number of international collaborations, Hong Kong and Singapore now boast a higher citation impact than the U.S. and the U.K. They have surpassed the world mean, the article mentions. While the world average is 1, the two economies are close to a 1.8 in citation impact.
  7. Institutional ranking: As per the article, Nature analyzed the institutions that published more than 4,500 articles and have improved their citation impact over the past 10 years. The institutions with the highest ranking were housed in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Some of the high-ranking universities in North Korea are Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul University, and Pohang University. Whereas in Hong Kong, the universities rated the best are Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and City University of Hong Kong. 

While the west dominated the research landscape for the longest time, East Asia has made unprecedented strides in various aspects of science and technology in the past few decades. It is now on par with the west and is making progress at a remarkable rate.

 

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