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Russia in the World Publication Activity Ranking: Natural Sciences

Russia is ranked 10th in the world according to publication activity by scientists in the natural sciences. China and the USA top this ranking. Russia is among the top 5 countries in some fields of the natural sciences, while in others, by contrast, it makes a low contribution to world science. Historically, these results come from the disciplinary structure of the Russian science. In total, 3.7% of publications in these areas in international scientific journals were written with the participation of Russian scientists in 2015–2017.

Printed version (in Russian)

Fig. 1 presents Russia’s position in an international ranking in 63 areas of the natural sciences. For each field, coordinate of a dot on a horizontal axis shows the place of Russia in the country ranking by the number of academic papers published  2015–2017. The vertical axis indicates the change in the ranking over 10 years (from 2005–2007 to 2015–2017). For example, the dot REPR (40, -2) corresponds to ‘Reproductive biology’ and shows that, in this area of research, Russia ranks 40th by a number of publications and has dropped two positions in the ranking over the past 10 years.

Fig. 1. Russia’s Position in World Publication Activity Ranking by Area of Research (in Russian)

Russia ranks among the top 5 countries in several areas of Physics — mathematical, atomic, nuclear, applied. Russia's position is strong in Mathematics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Geology, Optics. In Physics high positions are achieved partly as a result of the integration of Russian teams in major international projects (megascience). More than half of the publications on Atomic, Molecular & Chemical Physics, Nuclear Physics, Physics of Particles & Fields are the product of international collaborations. Russia also occupies places from 6th to 10th in some fields of Physics, Chemistry and Earth science. In the Life Sciences, publication output of Russian researchers is not so notable.

In recent years, Russian science has increased its effectiveness, which resulted in a growth of both the number of articles in international academic journals and in the share of Russian publications in the world total. However, in the natural sciences, Russia has not changed its position in the ranking. In some areas, the country even lost to countries that are rapidly increasing research activity. Among the 63 areas considered, Russia lost positions in the 33 field of research (in Fig. 1 the corresponding points are located below the horizontal axis) and gained in 25 areas, and in five areas there was no change. As a rule, there were no significant changes in the country's position in the ranking in the areas of leadership. Thus, over the past 10 years, there has been no rapid entry of Russia into the leaders, nor a drop out of the leaders in any area. A noticeable decline in Russia's position is not observed almost anywhere, with rare exceptions (Mycology, Limnology, Polymer science). By contrast, there is an increase in areas related to Computer Science and some areas of the Life Sciences.

Comparing the examined areas of research with the priorities established in the adopted in 2016 Scientific and Technological Development Strategy of the Russian Federation, we can conclude that now Russia is among leaders in several research areas related to the transition to digital production technologies, cleaner and more efficient energy, ensuring the coherence of territories, development of airspace and outer space, and the oceans. As for the priorities in the field of life sciences (transition to high-tech health care, to high-productive and clean agriculture), Russia's position is less noticeable.

Sources: HSE ISSEK calculations, according to InCites 01.07.2018; the results of  ‘Study of the activity of innovation process actors: development of the theoretical framework and methodological approaches’ of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The material was prepared by Ekaterina Dyachenko

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