1.2 Research Output
This report draws on a number of indicators and data sources related to research output and performance. Many of these indicators are related to the output of peer-reviewed publications.
For academic researchers, peer-reviewed publications are the medium by which they both communicate new ideas and assess each other’s contributions. Scholarly peer review is a practice by which a drafted paper or manuscript is scrutinized by other experts in the same field; the draft will be published only if those experts determine that it is suitable for publication.7
Research output for a given entity—whether it is an individual university or institution, a state or a country—is defined as the number of publications with at least one author affiliated with the respective entity.
In 2013, the U.S. published more than 536,000 publications. U.S. research output increased at a compound annual growth rate of 2.93 percent per year over the past decade, which was lower than the compound annual growth rate of the entire world at 5.19 percent. That means that the United States’ share of all publications worldwide actually decreased. In contrast, countries such as China, India and South Korea have grown their research outputs by 15.6 percent, 13.7 percent and 9.3 percent over the past decade respectively.
Which U.S. states have produced the most research during the past 10 years?
Figure 1.1 shows a map of the number of publications for U.S. states from 2004–13, where darker shades indicate a higher level of output. California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania produced the largest absolute number of publications. To put this in perspective, the number of publications by California-based researchers in 2013 (almost 92,000) comprised 17.1 percent—more than one-sixth—of the total U.S. publication output and was higher than the entire output of Canada. The combined absolute outputs of the top five states comprised more than 50 percent of the total U.S. output.
Unsurprisingly, states with larger populations tended to produce more publications. Figure 1.2 displays a similar map for U.S. states’ publication output in 2013 per 1,000 residents. The U.S. as a whole produced 1.7 publications per 1,000 residents. While states such as Massachusetts and Maryland produced high levels of research per capita (7.5 and 6.6 publications per 1,000 residents, respectively), states with smaller populations such as Rhode Island (4.2 publications per 1,000 residents), New Mexico (3.8 publications per 1,000 residents) and Connecticut (3.5 publications per 1,000 residents) also performed quite well.
Figure 1.1—Number of Publications for U.S. States, 2004–2013. Source: Scopus®
Figure 1.2—Number of Publications Per 1,000 Residents for U.S. States, 2013. Source: Scopus® and the U.S. Census Bureau
Which states increased their publication output the most?
Figure 1.3 plots publication output (scaled from 0 to 1 by each state’s percentile relative to all other states8) against growth in publication output volume. States with small outputs overall tended to grow the most—South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming grew their annual research output by 10.8 percent, 6.1 percent and 5.4 percent per year respectively. Florida stood out as a state that achieved both a high level of publication output (210,016 publications; 9th overall and in the top quintile of all states) and a high compound annual growth rate over the past decade (5.1 percent per year, 7th among all states).
Figure 1.3—Scatterplot of Publication Output Versus Compound Annual Growth Rate in Publication Output for U.S. States, 2004–2013. Scaled from 0 to 1 by percentile . South Dakota is excluded from figure because the state’s compound annual growth rate was an extreme outlier. Source: Scopus®
Which sectors contributed the most to Florida’s growth?
Growth in Florida’s research output can primarily be traced to its academic sector. As Figure 1.4 demonstrates, research output from Florida universities and research institutions grew from 13,465 publications in 2004 to 20,888 publications in 2013 (an increase of 7,838 publications, 5.0 percent compound annual growth rate).
However, research output from the medical sector (hospitals not otherwise affiliated with universities), such as the Mayo Clinic hospital in Jacksonville and the Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, comprised a small but important percentage of the state’s total (5.41 percent). In absolute numbers, the size of Florida’s medical sector’s research output is 8th among all states, as shown in Figure 1.5. More importantly, Florida’s medical sector’s output grew 5.5 percent per year, a rate faster than all other sectors for the state and faster than the U.S. medical sector as a whole (4.0 percent).
Figure 1.4—Distribution of Growth in Research Output for Florida Across Sectors, 2004–2013.9 Source: Scopus®
Figure 1.5—Top Ten States, Publication Output by Medical Sector, 2004 versus 2013.
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