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Research Outputs: Publications and Patents

Why is this important?

Research produces new knowledge, products, or processes. Research publications reflect contributions to knowledge, patents indicate useful inventions, and citations on patents to the scientific and technical literature indicate the linkage between research and practical application.

Key observations:

Science and engineering articles, by selected region/country: 1995–2009

NOTE: Asia total includes China, India, and Japan.
SEI 2012: S&E Article Output, Chapter 5.


The EU leads the world in numbers of S&E articles published, but the United States continues to be the top country producer.

China produced 9% of the world's S&E articles in 2009. It ranked 14th in 1995 with a 2% world share and rose to become the second largest country producer in 2007, overtaking Japan. Asia's combined S&E research article volume is approaching parity with U.S. and EU output.

Engineering articles, by selected region/country: 1995–2009

NOTE: Asia total includes China, India, and Japan.
SEI 2012: S&E Article Output, Chapter 5.

Engineering articles

Engineering is vital to knowledge-intensive and technologically advanced economies, and many Asian economies are building their engineering capabilities. China publishes 15% of global engineering articles, and Asia as a whole publishes twice as many engineering articles as the United States and half again as many as the EU.

The output of engineering articles is increasing robustly in the EU, gradually rising in the United States, and declining in Japan.

Citations in the Asian research literature to U.S., EU, and Asian research articles: 1999–2010

NOTE: Corrected for Asian self-citations.
SEI 2012: Trends in Citations of S&E Articles, Chapter 5.

Citations to the literature

In the research literature, citations acknowledge intellectual debt to the work of others, and increasingly such citations cross borders.

In an indication of the region's growing science base, Asian countries' citations to U.S. and EU articles have dropped or stayed level where as intra-Asia citations have risen.

U.S. patents granted to non-U.S. inventors, by region/country/economy: 1995–2010

Asia-8 = India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand
SEI 2012: Global Trends in Patenting and Trademarks, Chapter 6.


Patents protect the property rights of inventors. As knowledge-intensive economic activity expands worldwide, patent awards are rising. Inventors from around the globe seek patent protection in the United States because of its large and open market. Recently, more than half of U.S. patents have gone to non-U.S. awardees. Inventors in the EU and Japan produce most of these patents, but they have been joined by Asian inventors, chiefly in Taiwan and South Korea. Chinese and Indian patenting remains modest.

Share of U.S. utility patents awarded to non-U.S. owners that cite S&E literature: 1998–2010

SEI 2012: Patent-to-Literature Citations, Chapter 5.

Science-patent linkage

Patents list the prior scientific and technological knowledge on which they are built. Increasingly, U.S. patents have cited scientific articles as one such source.

The foreign share of such patent-to-article citations is rising, indicating growing utilization of published research in foreign inventions.

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