The Race for World Leadership of Science and Technology:

Status and Forecasts


R. D. Shelton and P. Foland




Presented at the 12th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Rio de Janeiro, July, 2009, and published in full in the conference proceedings.  Also published in Science Focus, a journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Chinese Version



Review Version

Word File


PowerPoint Slides of Illustrations


1. The paper's forecasts that the PRC would soon pass the US in high technology market share and in PhDs in science and engineering were proven correct when 2006 data became available.

2. The forecasts of paper shares for 2007, have been shown to be fairly accurate in the new issue of Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 from NSF. Further, that report makes the point that the number of researchers in China now is about the same at in the US, although the report extrapolates the US data from 2006 to 2007 to make that point. This is the third instance of a forecast in the Rio paper being shown to be correct when later data became available.


1. In discussing Row 5 of Table 2, " By birth location as shown, however, the EU has a big lead in the interval 1901-2005…"  The interval is actually 1950-2008.

2. At the bottom of Page 1, one instance of 'Leydesdorff' is misspelled.

3. In updating the paper for the new PPP weights for China just before it went to press, a mistake was made in calculating ki China's relative efficiency. Instead of the 0.707 for 2005 stated in the paper, it is closer to 0.81. This mainly affects Figure 4, Accuracy of Model. The conclusions stated there are still correct: the curves for the major players are still very flat, confirming that the driver for changes in publications is mainly changes in world share of R&D investment. However, it is significant that the corrected value for relative efficiency for China is now much closer to that of the US, 0.85 in 2005. China is now publishing papers in the SCI at about the same rate per $1 million invested in R&D as the US, which I think is a profound change.

Last update 2/10/10