More scientific productivity despite scarcity of resources in Spanish universities

15 Jun 2017 | News

A report analysing research activity at Spanish universities published this week, shows that over the past decade the number of scientists has gone down while individual productivity has gone up.

The report draws on a large set of indicators with data on 79 public and private Spanish universities from the years 2006 to 2015.

Amongst other findings, the revenue generated by research activity fell by 19 per cent from 2008 to 2014, with sharp declines, of nearly 67 per cent, at some universities. Revenue earned by non-financial operations of the universities has decreased since 2008 by an average of 14.02 per cent, and by more than 18 per cent at some universities.

The number of researchers in the Spanish science system is also in decline, having fallen 9.1 per cent between 2010 and 2015, with a slight improvement in 2015. The number of professors has slightly increased overall, by 0.93 per cent.

The productivity of professors almost doubled during this period. On the Web of Science, a repository of references of the main scientific journals, the average number of publications per professor per year went from 0.49 in 2006 to 0.83 in 2015. By region, Catalonia leads as the most productive, responsible for 25.68 per cent of papers, followed by Madrid with 19.91 per cent and Andalusia with 15.63 per cent.

By subject area, the data show that the experimental sciences continue to be the most represented, accounting for 42 per cent of papers, although this is down compared with 2006. Noteworthy are the improvements in the social sciences, with 10.8 per cent of papers at the end of the period compared with 7 per cent at the beginning, and the arts and the humanities, with 5.89 per cent compared with 3.51 per cent.

The report highlights an increase in international collaboration, with the US continuing to be the country that collaborates most with Spanish researchers, followed by the UK and Germany.

Impact of Research

There was an increased number of publications in the top 25 per of journals that have the highest international impact, which went from 49.09 per cent to 53 per cent. In addition, the number of patents granted to Spanish universities increased by 125.36 per cent.

Complete report:

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