India makes gains in science and engineering R&D, but is still far behind peer economies
One more reality check for Indian Science: A new report by the US’s National Science Foundation (NSF) makes note of the progress made in science and engineering research by India, the country—though one of the top 15 in terms of absolute R&D spend—is yet to catch up with peers such as Brazil and Russia for R&D expenditure measured as percentage of GDP. In terms of science and engineering research publications, the gulf between China and India has widened vastly. China, in fact, now stands less than a percentage point lower than global leader US.
Of the 2.2 million peer-reviewed research articles published in 2013 that NSF studied, 412,542 (18.8%) came from the United States, and 401,435 (18.2%) came from China. It is not that India has stagnated or is growing rather weakly in terms of research publications. On the contrary, the country’s rapid growth in publication numbers and quality has been praised by the NSF analysts. But, the pace is just not fast enough. With global research collaboration on the upswing—the percentage of publications with authors from multiple countries increased from 13.2% to 19.2% between 2000 and 2013—there seems to be increasing global recognition that institutional knowledge resources sharing that comes with such collaboration will give a nitro-boost to technological innovation and inventions materialising. Given how the economy of the future banks on leaps in tech-led industry, any country that doesn’t keep pace in terms of R&D will miss being part of the next epoch in the history of industrialisation.