Elsevier releases latest industry study revealing surprising growth trends from the global south among G20 nations

13 Jul 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Elsevier / RELX
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Elsevier, a global leader in evidence-based clinical practice content, research publishing, and information analytics, just published the newest report analyzing global research trends with a focus on collaborations between the largest economies in the world. Fostering collaboration: a study of scientific publications with authors in G20 countries, studied data from Elsevier’s industry leading SCOPUS database and uncovered that researchers in G20 nations co-authored 75% of total scientific publications worldwide from 2012-2021.

The report, which was spotlighted at a seminar jointly organized by India’s Ministry of Education in partnership with Elsevier, analyses scientific production of the 19 G20 members, all of which have rigorous research and development programs. Elsevier examined 24,746,950 scientific publications from researchers at nearly 20,000 institutions. The data introduced some striking trends in global research.

Global South Research Growth
Of most note, for the first time India has taken over the United Kingdom as the third largest producer of research globally, behind China and the U.S. In fact, while the report shows all G20 countries saw enormous growth in their scientific capacity over the last 30 years, it revealed those belonging to the Global South saw the most growth. In the period 1999 to 2022, the number of scientific publications with authors in India grew 11.2% per year. For China the rate was 14.7%, for Saudi Arabia 16%, and for Indonesia 20.1% per year. Looking at the last decade, Indonesia’s research output grew 26% per year, Saudia Arabia was at 17%, and South Africa grew 7.8% annually compared to the world average growth rate of 3.6%. Data further reveals that China and India showed a growth rate of 9.3% and 9.7% respectively, substantially higher than that of the U.S at 0.5%.

Author of the report, Dr Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Senior Vice President at Elsevier and Professor Emeritus, State University of Campinas, said: "The research landscape in the world is changing. Thirty years ago, it was the rich countries of the Global North that conducted research. Now, there is a change, and countries from the Global South are becoming more and more relevant in research and science. India has brought so many collaborations, especially when addressing the SDG goal of reducing world hunger. Scientific production in India is growing 25% per year. Soon, India will have a mass of knowledge that will become a reference for every other country in the world."

Research Collaboration Trends
Meanwhile, international co-authorship ranged from 18% to 73% for the period 2017-2021 with Saudi Arabia, Australia, France, and the U.K. having the highest international collaboration percentages worldwide. Collaboration strategies between G20 countries varied. For example, India’s main collaborators are the U.S., U.K., and China. China favors collaborating with the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Argentina, on the other hand, works more with the U.S., Brazil and Germany. The main overall collaborator for all G20 members is the U.S., except for Indonesia who collaborate mainly with Japan.

AI Research Trends
In research related to the growing field of artificial intelligence (AI), SCOPUS data show the growth rate for AI-related publications is larger in China and India than in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. It is worth noting that there has been a noticeable climb in the number of AI-related publications from Saudi Arabia recently. When considering overall Global South AI research programs, in 2013 there were just four countries seen as main contributors to global AI research – China, India, Brazil and Iran. Cut to 2022 data and Brazil has dropped with the list now adding Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Russia. However, there has been a recent decline from Russia.

The report, Fostering collaboration: a study of scientific publications with authors in G20 countries, is available online.

This article was first published on July 12 by Elsevier.

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