Abt HA. "National Astronomical Productivities" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society Volume 37 Issue 4, p.1540-1543, 2005.

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Mon Mar 20 16:29:49 EST 2006

Helmut A. Abt : abt at noao.edu


TITLE  : National Astronomical Productivities

SOURCE : Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
         Volume 37 Issue 4, p.1540-1543, 2005.

Astronomical research is no longer limited to a few European and North
American countries, but originates in at least 55 countries.  How do those
countries compare in their support and productivity of original
astronomical research?  Of course we would not expect developing countries
to contribute much because they have more basic needs.  Education in
astronomy is important in all countries in our understanding of the world
around us, but original research, which is expensive, should generally be
done in developing countries only after more urgent human needs are
satisfied.  However, there are 30 countries whose per capita incomes are
greater than $4,000 (US) that should be able to afford to contribute to our
knowledge of astronomy.

In this study the numbers of papers published by astronomers from various
countries in 13 of the world's foremost astronomical journals are compared
with the Gross National Products (GNP) of those countries.  The values of
the GNPs are usually available from almanacs (e.g. Wright 2004).  The
countries of origin for the publications are more tedious to determine.
Typically a paper has five authors from three different countries.  Of the
various addresses often given for some authors, we usually selected the
country where the research was done.  Then it is simple arithmetic to
conclude, for instance in this example, that two of the countries each
receive credit for 0.40 of a paper and one for 0.20 of a paper.  Cases of
40 authors from 12 different countries involve more arithmetic, and credits
can be as low as 0.01 or 0.02 of a paper.

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