Vol. 4 No. 3 (2009): A Quantitative Analysis of Countries’ Research Strengths
This study employed a multidimensional analysis to evaluate transnational patterns of scientific research to determine relative research strengths among widely varying nations. Findings from this study may inform national policy with regard to the most efficient use of scarce national research resources, including government and private funding. Research output from 34 countries is examined using a conceptual framework that emphasizes the ratio of research resources devoted to a particular field to research output measured by publications in peer-reviewed journals. Using cluster analysis and k-means analysis, we conclude that countries’ research output (as measured by the number of published peer-reviewed articles) and their efficiency (as measured by a ratio of research output to dollars allocated to research) together indicate a comparative advantage within any given country’s own menu of research choices and an absolute advantage relative to other countries. This study implies that the more countries engage in publication in areas of relative strength and consume research in areas of relative weakness, the stronger their entire research agenda will become.