FW: FINLAND SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT - 1
eugene.garfield at THOMSON.COM
Wed Mar 1 14:01:34 EST 2006
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FROM: Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff (Office of Naval Research)
TO: Finland Science and Technology Distribution
SUBJECT: Finland S&T Assessment Report
A report on the structure and infrastructure of Finnish science and
technology is available for downloading
. Go to eighth document listed.
A representative database of technical articles was extracted from the
Science Citation Index for the years 2003-2004, with each article
containing at least one author with a Finnish address. Document
clustering was used to identify the main technical themes (core
competencies) of Finnish research. Four of the pervasive technical
topics identified from the clustering (Wireless Networks and Mobile
Communication, Signal Processing, Materials Science and Engineering,
Chemistry) were analyzed further using bibliometrics, in order to
identify the infrastructure of these research areas. Finally, the
citation performance of Finnish research in the four pervasive technical
topics above, and in other technical topics obtained by text phrase
analysis, was compared to that of two Scandanavian countries with
similar populations and GDPs: Norway and Denmark.
An Executive Summary of the approach and findings is appended.
1. Kostoff RN, Tshiteya R., Bowles CA, Tuunanen T. The structure and
infrastructure of the Finnish research literature. DTIC Technical
Report ADA-442890 (http://www.dtic.mil/). Defense Technical Information
Center. Fort Belvoir, VA. 2006. This report is based on the journal
paper "Kostoff RN, Tshiteya R., Bowles CA, Tuunanen T. The structure
and infrastructure of the Finnish research literature. Technology
Analysis and Strategic Management. Vol. 18. 2006."
APPENDIX - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF FINNISH S&T ASSESSMENT
The main objective of this study was to assess the technical core
competencies of Finland. This was accomplished using partitional
clustering and bibliometrics on articles retrieved from the Science
Citation Index. At the highest taxonomy level, there appear to be four
major research core competencies, based on level of activity:
* Physics/ Information/ Mathematics/ Economics includes about 28%
of Finnish research;
* Materials/Chemistry/ Environment/ Ecology includes about 28%;
* Biology/ Biochemistry/ Medicine covers about 17%; and
* Clinical Medicine includes about 27%.
Bibliometrics were performed in detail on four lower level research core
competencies identified by analysis of the overall technical taxonomy:
* Wireless Network and Mobile Communications,
* Signal Processing,
* Materials Science and Engineering, and
Wireless Network and Mobile Communications
* Journals containing the most papers appear to be applied
journals, split between communications and networks.
* Journals addressing more fundamental issues or topics from other
disciplines are not represented. IEEE journals are represented most
* Nokia and Helsinki University of Technology are by far the
leaders for Wireless Network and Mobile Communications, with four
institutions constituting the second tier: Oulu University, Tempere
University of Technology, VTT, University of Helsinki.
* There are nine universities, four research centers, and two
industrial organizations. This distribution reflects an applied
research/ technology development emphasis and is consistent with the
journal section conclusions.
* The major collaborators in this field are the advanced Western
countries and Japan.
* Journals containing the most papers are applied journals,
drawing from a number of different applications areas.
* Journals addressing more fundamental issues are not represented.
* Helsinki University of Technology and Tampere University of
Technology are the leading institutions for Signal Processing, with two
institutions constituting the second tier: University of Oulu and
University of Helsinki.
* Four co-authoring countries (USA, England, France, Sweden)
predominate in this field, accounting for 44% of the collaborative
efforts. The main collaborators are the advanced Western countries.
Materials Science and Engineering
* Articles are published primarily in physics journals, although a
small percentage of materials articles appear in materials and chemistry
* Journals addressing more fundamental issues, or topics from
other disciplines, are not represented.
* Helsinki University of Technology and University of Helsinki
constitute the first tier for Materials Science and Engineering, with
four universities and one research institute constituting the second
tier (University Turku, VTT, Tampere University Technology, University
Oulu, and Abo Akad University).
* The USA is the predominant Materials research partner, with
Germany, Sweden, and England constituting the second tier.
* The topical coverage of Chemistry journals is very broad, and
the journals are a mix of basic (Journal of Biological Chemistry,
Journal of Chemical Physics, Inorganic Chemistry) and applied (Applied
Catalysis A, Nordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal, Industrial and
Engineering Chemistry Research).
* University of Helsinki is the leading Chemistry institution by
far, with four institutions comprising the next tier (University Turku,
Helsinki University of Technology, University Kuopio, and University
Oulu), and two institutions that constitute the third major tier (Abo
Akad University, Tampere University).
* All of the institutions are universities.
* The major collaborating country in Chemistry is the USA, with
the next tier having three countries (Sweden, Germany, England).
* The listing of top twenty countries aggregates various groupings
(North American developed, Scandanavian countries, regional [Russia,
Poland], developed Western democracies, and Finno-Ugric [Hungary,
Integration of these bibliometrics results across the four technical
thrusts studied leads to the following general conclusions:
* The journals containing the most papers are mainly applied
across the four core competencies selected, with some basic research
journal representation in Chemistry.
* University of Helsinki is in the top tier of prolific
institutions in the more fundamental research areas, and is in the
second tier in the more applied areas.
* Helsinki University of Technology is in the top tier in more
applied areas, and in the second tier in more fundamental areas.
* University of Oulu is in the second tier in all four core
technology areas selected.
* Nokia is the only company to appear in a first tier (and only in
the Wireless Network and Mobile Communications thrust).
* VTT appears in a second tier (in the WNMC and MATLS thrusts).
* The main country collaborators with Finland are the US (all four
thrust areas), England (all four thrust areas), Germany (three thrust
areas), Sweden (three thrust areas), France (two thrust areas).
The clustering appears useful for generating the structure of a
country's S&T, while the bibliometrics appears useful for identifying
Centers of Excellence and prolific performers for specific technology
areas. Continual upgrades in the clustering algorithms ensure that the
accuracy of the clusters and categories will continue to improve.
Two citation-based approaches were used for assessing Finland's
technical thrust areas. One approach is based on themes from document
clustering and compares the four themes used for the bibliometrics
analysis. They are important research areas for Finland. The other
approach is based on phrase frequency analysis, and identifies a number
of pervasive technical themes that exhibit relatively high activity
(numbers of articles published). For both approaches, the Finnish
results are compared with those of two similar countries, Norway and
Denmark. All three are small Scandanavian countries with similar
populations and GDP. All three are viewed as advanced Western nations.
Document Clustering-based Citations
All the research articles on the four areas selected from the document
clustering-based taxonomy published in 1999 with at least one author
with a Finland or Norway or Denmark address were retrieved, and their
citations examined. Then, global citation statistics were tabulated and
compared for each country for each technology.
Wireless Networks and Mobile Communications
The number of Finnish articles in Wireless Networks and Mobile
Communications published in both 1999 and 2004 is almost an order of
magnitude larger than that from Norway or Denmark. This investment
reflects an obvious strategic priority for Finland, and is one
characteristic of a true core competency.
Because of the small number of data points for Norway and Denmark for
the citation comparison vintage year (1999), the citation comparison
statistics for Wireless Networks and Mobile Communications have limited
validity. For example, the median of the top twenty percent of articles
for Norway and Denmark reflected one article for each country. In
addition, many of the Norway and Denmark articles did not focus on
development of the wireless/ mobile technology but rather on
consequences such as health effects of microwave radiation. Finland did
have three highly cited papers (>40), but the relative significance of
this number could not be ascertained due to the poor statistics for the
other two countries.
To place this result in a larger context, the citation performance of
the USA in Wireless Networks and Mobile Communications was examined for
articles published in 1999 and compared to that of Finland.
* There were 943 USA articles published in 1999 (compared to
* The median of the top twenty percent USA article citations was
32 (compared to Finland's 35).
* The median of all the USA article citations was 5 (compared to
* Finally, the number of USA articles with forty or more citations
was 69 (compared to Finland's 3).
Thus, in relative terms, Finland's research output in Wireless Networks
and Mobile Communications reflects a higher priority than the USA's, but
in absolute terms, the USA is dominant by a large margin.
In the Signal Processing category, Norway has increased its output
substantially since 1999, while Finland's output has increased
moderately, and Denmark's has remained the same. Denmark exceeds
Finland and Norway noticeably in all the citation metrics used. Most
importantly, Denmark has a higher fraction of the most highly cited
articles. Thus, while Signal Processing may be a core Finnish research
area due to volume of activity, it does not offer a core research impact
advantage over Denmark.
In the Materials category, Finland and Denmark are the clear leaders
over Norway in numbers of research articles published, with Finland
holding a slight edge. Both Finland and Denmark have increased
publication productivity by about a third since 1999, while Norway's
increase has been about half that amount. As in the Signal Processing
thrust, Denmark outperforms Finland in all the citation metrics used,
most importantly in the number of highly cited papers. Again, as in the
Signal Processing thrust, Materials research may be a core Finnish
research area due to volume of activity, but it certainly does not offer
a core research impact advantage over Denmark.
In the Chemistry category, Finland and Denmark are the clear leaders in
numbers of publications and are relatively close to each other. Again,
Denmark is the clear leader in all the citation metrics used, with
moderately less of the commanding lead shown in Materials research.
Three caveats are in order here. The first concerns the relation
between citations, research impact, and core competencies. Poor
citation performance can reflect:
* Poor intrinsic quality, and/ or
* Low circulation journals, and/ or
* Low research activity in field, and or
* More applied focus, reducing the number of extra-discipline
researchers available to cite, and/ or
* Other characteristics.
In particular, a country could produce high quality but very applied
research in a technical area. The area's output might receive low
citations in aggregate but still be a national core competence. In
order to distinguish the reasons for poor citations exhibited by
different countries in different categories, one would need to read
substantial numbers of research articles produced by the countries in
the field of interest and analyze them for intrinsic quality and level
of development. That was beyond the scope of the present study.
The second caveat concerns the aggregation level of the technologies
examined. The conclusions above about dominance are for the thrust
areas defined by the relatively broad queries shown. Even though one
country may dominate on the thrust area in aggregate (as defined by the
total query), another country could conceiveably lead in one of the
The third caveat concerns the selection of phrases. The selection was
based on emphasis in the Finland research output database. A priori,
one would expect these to be Finnish research priority areas and would
expect Finland's performance relative to other countries to be somewhat
higher than average. Any poor relative performance by Finland in these
Finnish thrust areas should be cause for concern.
In the above four thrust areas analyzed, Finland has two characteristics
of a true core competency: an identifiable cohesive thrust and
identifiable critical mass (numbers of publications, relative to Norway
and Denmark). However, for the latter three technical thrust areas, it
did not have the aggregate citation impact of Denmark. The differences
in relative publication and citation attributes across the four
technical areas for the three countries show the necessity for comparing
countries at the critical technology level rather than at the aggregate
national level (King, 2004).
Phrase Frequency-based Citations
A phrase frequency analysis was performed on the contents of the
Abstracts of all the Finland records retrieved. The highest frequency
technical phrases were identified. Seventeen of these phrases were
selected from the areas of Physical, Environmental, and Life Sciences,
with emphasis on phrases different from those used for the core
competency queries. No high frequency phrases of adequate specificity
could be identified from the Engineering Sciences area. Each phrase (in
some cases, combinations of similar phrases) was entered into the SCI
search engine, and records were retrieved for Finland, Norway, and
Denmark for 1999. Citation indicators were applied to each phrase's
retrievals, and the results compared.
The phrase frequency approach shows:
* Finland to be the clear winner in most of the citation metrics
in most of the Life Sciences themes,
* Denmark to be the winner in most Environmental Sciences themes,
* Denmark to be a clear winner in four of the seven Physical
* Finland to be a modest winner in one Physical Sciences theme
(Electron Microscopy), and
* Finland and Denmark to be essentially tied in three Physical
The caveats expressed previously about the interpretation of citations
and thematic aggregation apply to these results as well.
The real surprise in these results is the citation performance of
Norway. While Norway has the smallest population of the three
countries, it has the largest GDP. In most cases (but not all), Norway
had the lowest research activity, and in almost all cases, had the
lowest citation impact. It should be re-stated that the phrases
selected for the present country comparison analysis, whether from the
document clustering-based queries or the phrase frequency-based queries,
were based on emphasis in the Finland data base. Whether Norway would
perform better if phrases were selected from an analysis of its own
database is unknown. As will be shown in the next paragraph, its gross
citation numbers do not offer much encouragement, but as this study has
emphasized repeatedly, the dis-aggregated critical technologies are of
Computations were performed to identify the effect of collaborating
countries on the research impact of articles with Finnish authors. There
are four separate groups of results generated. The first group, Total
Country Results, is based on all articles from either 2004 or 1999 that
had at least one author with the address of the country of interest
(i.e., Finland or Norway or Denmark). The second group, Country Only
(No Other Countries), is based on all articles from 1999 with at least
one author with the address of the country of interest, excluding all
authors with an address from any of Finland's 25 top country
collaborators. The purpose of this group is to identify citation
characteristics of papers from only the country of interest (Finalnd,
Norway, or Denmark).
The third group, Country and USA Only (No Other Countries) is based on
all articles from 1999 with at least one author with the address of the
country of interest and at least one author with a USA address,
excluding all other authors with an address from any of Finland's 25 top
country collaborators. The purpose of this group is to identify the
impact of adding only USA co-authors to those of the country of
interest. The final group, Country and USA, is based on all articles
from 1999 with at least one author from the USA and one author from the
country of interest. Papers with authors from other countries are not
excluded, as they were in the third group.
The summary findings are as follows:
* In the first group, Total Country Results, the gross citation
impacts of Finland and Denmark are quite similar, and substantially
larger than that of Norway.
* In the second group, Country Only, Denmark has modestly better
citation performance than Finland, which in turn has modestly better
citation performance than Norway.
* In the third group, Country and USA Only (No Other Countries),
Finland and the USA outperform Denmark and the USA. Both groups
substantially outperform Norway and the USA.
* In the fourth group, Country and USA, multi-country papers
including Finland and USA very slightly outperform multi-country papers
including Denmark and USA, which in turn moderately outperform
multi-country papers including Norway and the USA.
* Adding the USA only to Finland/ Norway/ Denmark papers increases
the citation performance substantially, and adding more countries
enhances performance modestly for Finland, somewhat more for Denmark,
and substantially for Norway.
The citation-based approaches appear very useful for comparing research
impact among countries, but substantial reading of research outputs is
required for proper interpretation of citation results.
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