EU Research Productivity
| Steve Phelan |
Interesting post over at Vox EU on EU Research Productivity. Basically a recent study examines the ISI List of Highly Cited Researchers (HCRs) by country,
the United States gets the lion’s share with 66% of the total number of HCRs, while the EU17 (EU15 plus Norway and Switzerland) has 22.3%.
They then use an econometric model to estimate the effects of R&D expenditure as % of GDP, GDP per capita, Anglo-Saxon academic institutions, and the proportion of English speakers.
Raising R&D to 3% of GDP was predicted to increase EU share to only 28%. Interestingly, university governance reforms were predicted to increase performance the most (by an additional 9%).
The article is very vague about the supposed institutional benefits conferred by the US/UK academic system that generate the higher performance. If this result is true, then what is the reason? Is it more efficient incentives such as an up-or-out promotion based on top tier publications? Is it better PhD training? Is it higher rewards for top performers?
That being said, is the “the list of highly cited researchers on ISI” an appropriate dependent variable to measure comparative research performance? Is it biased towards US researchers? Note that English proficiency only explained 3-4% of the performance gap.