Monthly Archives: January 2010

Model Accurately Predicts Growth in Chinese Publication at US Expense

Our Rio paper contained quantitative predictions of how much Chinese scientific publication would continue to grow at US expense.  Data in the new Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 allow some checking of these forecasts.  The model calculates publication share from forecasts of R&D investment share.  The data used was for 2005 then available from NSF (in S&EI2008) on the number of scientific papers and from OECD on national investments in R&D (GERD).

In 2005 the publication shares based on the 35 country OECDgroup (with more than 90% of world publication) were:
US  (30.9%)
PRC (6.3%)

Our forecast for 2007, made based on 2005 data, was:
US (29.6%)
PRC (7.9%)

The actuals for 2007 in the new SEI2010 report are:
US (29.9%)
PRC (8.1%)

Not bad for government work, particularly since some don’t even know what direction these time series are heading or why. I suspect that the small difference between forecast and actuals is because China increased their GERD share a little faster than we forecast.  I can check that from the latest OECD data and put it in a comment.

So what? Well, if my model continues to forecast correctly the rapid rise of China, it predicts that China will actually pass the US in well less than ten years to lead the world.  This is despite China’s current share being far below that of the US in this key indicator of scientific supremacy.

As shown in the Rio paper, China has already passed the US in some databases of physical science publications.  The paper also has forecasts of about a dozen other indicators of national S&T performance.  In two cases, high tech manufacturing market share, and the number of science and engineering PhDs produced, the paper’s forecasts that China would soon pass the US have already occured in the data newly available.  Also, China will likely pass the US in the number of researchers when the 2008 data becomes available.  Have a nice day, particularly if you are in the PRC. (:))

The Rio paper is here.

R. D. Shelton

2010 Edition of NSF S&EI Shows US Decline

Every two years the NSF/SRS Division produces a wonderful collection of science and engineering indicators, mostly on the US, but with a lot of international comparisons.  Many analysts, including myself, use the data that they have compiled to draw additional conclusions.  I’ll post an example of this next.

For some years I have been pointing with alarm at the loss of US S&T leadership, based this data and other sources.  This year NSF is finally highlighting the same issue, after years of downplaying it.  The first sentence in their press release announcing the report says, “The state of the science and engineering (S&E) enterprise in America is strong, yet its lead is slipping…” which is attributed to Rolf Lehming.  In the next paragraph, Kei Kozumi of OSTP, says, “U.S. dominance has eroded significantly.”

The press release has links to the report and its data in .pdf  and .xls format.

R. D. Shelton


Under sponsorship by NSF and other Federal agencies the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. (WTEC), the nation’s leading organization for conducting international technology assessments, has commissioned a panel of U.S. experts to complete a study started in 2007 on the worldwide advances in Vaccine Development and Production. Previously the United States and Europe were analyzed; now Asia is the focus in this phase. Results will be presented in a FREE workshop to be held on May 5, 2010, 8:30am – 4:00pm, at the National Science Foundation (NSF), 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Stafford II, Room 555, Arlington, VA, 22230. Although the workshop is free, registration is required. For further information and registration visit:

The panel includes:
• Dr. Joseph Bielitzki, LENSAR, (Chair)
• Dr. Stephen W. Drew, Drew Solutions
• Dr. Cyril Gerard Gay, USDA
• Dr. Terrance Leighton, CHORI
• Dr. Sheldon Howard Jacobson, UIUC
• Dr. Mary Ritchey, Ritchey Associates

The panel will report on their visits to some 30 key academic and industrial institutions in 5 different countries in Asia. The panel will also compare findings in vaccine production with the latest research in the United States and Europe.

The full text of recently completed WTEC international reports on rapid vaccine manufacturing, brain-computer interfaces, carbon nanotube manufacturing, spin electronics, micromanufacturing, robotics, and many others are available free at

Will China Achieve Science Leadership?: A Debate

The New York Times provides a forum in the blog medium for debates–Room for Debate.  This one from yesterday is on whether China will achieve its goals for science leadership.  It starts with articles from:

Gordon G. Chang, author and columnist

Cong Cao, author of “China’s Scientific Elite”

John Kao, founder of Institute for Large Scale Innovation

Vivek Wadhwa, entrepreneur and columnist

Jonathan Moreno, professor of history and sociology of science

Gang Xiao, professor of physics and engineering

There were 39 comments within one day.  Maybe I’ll post one.

R. D. Shelton

Peter Morici

This is the first of a series of postings on people involved in international S&T policy.  I will start with people I agree with, and may get around to other misguided souls.

Dr. Morici was chief economist at the US International Trade Commission and is now a professor at the University of Maryland. He posts numerous articles on US trade problems.

R. D. Shelton

US Trade Deficit Graphs

I used to plot these graphs in ITRInews ten years ago when the trade deficit was approaching only a half-trillion dollars per year. Here’s one that updates this to 2008. The Great Recession and the small decline of the dollar relative to the yuan seems to had some effect in slowing the rise of the deficit. And it’s clear that there is more to the US deficit than just China.  On the other hand, from China’s point of view, most of its surplus is from the US.

Perhaps the most dramatic recent shift in these charts is the switch in the Chinese surplus from being entirely from the US to now having a rapidly growing component from the rest of the world.  I”ll bet that we will soon hear howls of protest from other countries who are now losing manufacturing jobs to the PRC.

I got these graphs from a site run by Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland. He seems to be a kindred spirit, so I’ll post an article on him when I get a chance.  Here”s his website.


R. D. Shelton

The Made in USA Challenge

Too cold to walk outside yesterday, so I went to the mall.  In an upscale department store I was looking at men’s clothing labels from many countries all over the world.  One country was strangely absent, the USA.  I told the clerk that I would buy anything he could find that was made in America.  Three clerks took up the challenge, but gave up after an exhaustive search.  One suggested that I try the mother of all department stores–the Web.

Yes, you can find American made clothes on the Web.  Indeed there are sites that have nothing else, which seem to be designed for union members who really don’t like wearing imported clothes.  The selection is limited, and the prices are are somewhat higher, but at least you’re helping to support the local economy.  Try:

R. D. Shelton

India and China: An Advanced Technology Race and How the US Should Respond, by Ernest Preeg

I’m shocked that I am the first person to post a review for this book, which has a most alarming message. Americans really ought to read this book, and try to do something about the problems it uncovers.

Ambassador Preeg makes a convincing case that China will soon become an economic, technological, and military superpower, ending the brief period since 1991 when the US enjoyed that status alone. (India is also coming up strong, but it will be many years until it achieves superpower status.) Moreover, many of the stunning gains made by China, such as world market share of high technology products, come at the expense of the US, so that they represent a double whammy. He identifies the distorted exchange rate between the US dollar and the Chinese yuan, artificially supported by purchases of up to a half trillion in dollars per year by the PRC central bank, as being the single most important cause of much of the gains of China.

The author also lays out a long list of international and domestic actions that the US could take to better compete with China, whose merchantilistic trade policies are in no way consistent with free trade. The Obama Administration seems to be somewhat more likely to take action than the Bush Administration was, but there is a long way to go, and the US public seems to be oblivious to the danger it faces. Also important vested interests in the US have a stake in China’s continued advance at our expense. Preeg believes our actions will be aided by China being soon be forced to revalue its currency, and that they will also soon introduce the promised (one party) “democracy.” I hope so, but I’m more skeptical. I do have one more remedy to add: Americans might decide that cheap Chinese products are a danger to their economic and military security, as well as to their health.

Online Access to CRS Reports

Reports from the Congressional Research Service are not directly available to the public. When I worked as a congressional staffer I had access to reports, and I have missed them ever since. Now several organizations get reports through Members of Congress and post them.  The Federation of American Scientists has a comprehensive site, and has links to other similar archives.

 Here is a sample of 2009 CRS reports on S&T.


S&T Policy Making

Federal R&D Funding


S&T Workforce

S&T in Diplomacy

America COMPETES Act FY2010

R. D. Shelton