The Scientific Impact of Italy


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Scientific impact of Italy, as measured by citations of scientific papers, is compared to R&D expenditure.

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The Scientific Impact of Italy

  1. 1. The Scientific Impact of Italy Giuseppe De Nicolao – Università di Pavia I Centri ministeriali di Eccellenza istituiti presso le Università tra il 2001 e il 2003 Roma - Accademia dei Lincei 28 Settembre 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>The Shanghai Institute of Education has recently published a list of the top 500 world universities. The order is based on the number of Nobel laureates from 1911 to 2002, highly cited researchers, articles published in Science and Nature, the number of papers published and an average of these four criteria compared with the number of full-time faculty members in each institution. I believe none of these criteria are as reliable as citations. </li></ul><ul><li>D. A. King, “The scientific impact of nations - What different countries get for their research spending”, Nature , vol. 430|15, July 2004, </li></ul>Assessing scientific impact of nations
  3. 3. Goals of the presentation <ul><li>Assess the scientific impact of Italy as measured by citations </li></ul><ul><li>Assess research efficiency by input-output analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>input = research spending </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>output = scientific impact </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Data <ul><li>Citations 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cumulative cites of scientific documents published in 2008: 15 best countries are considered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: SCImago (powered by SCOPUS) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gross Domestic Product (GDP’06) </li></ul><ul><li>Research & Development expenditure (R&D’06) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Currency unit: million dollars (M$) (Purchasing-Power-Parity adjusted) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: World Bank </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What is the scientific impact of countries?
  6. 7. Italy’s Citation Rankings ‘08 (SCImago/SCOPUS) Subject Area Rank All 8 Medicine 5 Pharmacol., Toxicol. & Pharmaceutics 5 Earth and Planetary Sc. 6 Mathematics 6 Neuroscience 6 Biochem., Genetics & Molec. Biol. 7 Dentistry 7 Health Professions 7 Immunology and Microbiology 7 Nursing 7 Physics and Astronomy 7 Veterinary 7 Chemistry 8 Subject Area Rank Computer Science 8 Economics, Econometrics and Finance 8 Engineering 8 Arts and Humanities 9 Energy 9 Multidisciplinary 9 Psychology 9 Agriculture and Biol. Sc. 10 Decision Sciences 10 Environmental Science 10 Social Sciences 10 Chemical Engineering 11 Materials Science 11 Business, Manag. & Accounting 13
  7. 8. Italy’s Relative Production of Documents
  8. 10. What is the wealth of countries?
  9. 12. How much do countries spend in R&D?
  10. 14. How much do countries spend relative to their GDP? R&D intensity = R&D/GDP
  11. 16. Comments <ul><li>Compared to expenditure, Italy’s scientific impact is good: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>R&D intensity ranks # 15 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absolute R&D expenditure ranks # 9 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citations rank #8 (scientific impact) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Five excellence areas that rank #5 or #6 </li></ul><ul><li>Next: let’s assess efficiency … </li></ul>
  12. 17. Efficiency assessment <ul><li>Fact: cited papers are mostly written by academic researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Gagliarducci, Ichino, Peri, Perotti (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Business R&D expenditure has other goals: technical innovation, patents, new products, … </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant expenditure to be considered: </li></ul><ul><li>Higher-education Expenditure in R&D (HERD‘06) </li></ul><ul><li>Source: OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators, 2009/2 </li></ul>
  13. 18. How much do countries spend in academic R&D?
  14. 20. How much do countries spend in HERD relative to their GDP? HERD intensity = HERD/GDP
  15. 22. What do countries get for their academic research spending ? Academic research efficiency = cites/HERD
  16. 24. Is Italy’s research inefficient? <ul><li>Italy’s Gross Expenditure in R&D (GERD) ranks #9 </li></ul><ul><li>Italy’s Higher-education Expenditure in R&D (HERD) ranks #8 </li></ul><ul><li>The ranking of Italy’s citations (#8) is equal the ranking of academic research spending (#8) </li></ul><ul><li>you get what you spend for </li></ul><ul><li>Italy’s academic research efficiency is average among 15 most research-oriented countries. In particular, Italy is more efficient than Germany, France, USA, Canada, Korea and, Japan </li></ul>
  17. 25. Technical remarks <ul><li>To account for the delay of scientific results with respect to funding, the analysis considered 2006 expenditure (input) against 2008 citations (output) </li></ul><ul><li>The rankings of Italy are rather insensitive to the following changes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#papers in place of #cites as impact criterion (#8 in both cases) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>removing purchasing-power-parity adjustment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different citations years (ranking of Italy’s impact remains stable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different spending years (Italy’s research intensity remains stable) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 26. What about university education? <ul><li>From OECD “Education at a glance 2010” : </li></ul><ul><li>Average expenditure per student throughout the course of tertiary studies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The figures account for all students for whom expenditure is incurred, including those who do not finish their studies . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Expenditure for university education as %GDP </li></ul><ul><li>Ratio of students to teaching staff </li></ul>
  19. 27. How much do countries spend in university education per student?
  20. 28. Average expenditure per student throughout the course of university studies
  21. 29. Comment <ul><li>Italy’s average expenditure per student throughout the course of university studies ranks #16 among 24 considered countries: in particular, we invest less than our main competitors (Sweden, NL, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Japan, Spain, Australia, France, Belgium, ...) </li></ul>
  22. 30. How much do countries spend in university education relative to their wealth?
  23. 31. Expenditure for university education as %GDP’07
  24. 32. Comments <ul><li>Among 33 considered countries, only Brazil spends less than Italy for university education as %GDP </li></ul><ul><li>With the planned budget reduction, Italy will fight for last position </li></ul>
  25. 33. “ che nell’università ci siano troppi professori è un fatto” F. Giavazzi, Corriere della Sera 24-10-10
  26. 34. Ratio of students to teaching staff (calculations based on full time equivalents)
  27. 35. che nell’università ci siano troppi professori è un fatto ... falso Among 29 considered countries, only Chile, Turkey, and Slovenia and have a greater ratio of students to teaching staff (Table D2.2, p. 387)