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A small country in a world of big science a preliminary bibliometric study of science in Singapore

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A small country in a world of big science a preliminary bibliometric study of science in Singapore
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  Scientometrics, Vol. 8. Nos 5-6 (1985) 301-313 A SMALL COUNTRY IN A WORLD OF BIG SCIENCE A PRELIMINARY BIBLIOMETRIC STUDY OF SCIENCE IN SINGAPORE S. ARUNACHALAM,* K.C. GARG** *Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR, Hillside Road, New Delhi 110012 (India) **National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies Hillside Road, New Delhi 110012 (India) (Received September 12, 1984 in revised form February 21, 1985) An analysis of 258 papers published from Singapore and covered in Science Citation lndex (SC1) 1979 and 1980 indicates that (1) much of R&D in Singapore pertains to medical research, (2) almost all the papers are published in English language periodicals published from the western world, (3) nearly two-thirds of Singapore's publication output is accounted for by the University of Singapore, and (4) by and large papers from Singapore are rarely cited, even if many of them have appeared in journals having impact factor greater than one. Introduction Well over 90% of the world's scientific output in the form of research papers comes from a few advanced countries of the OECD and Eastern Europe. 1 However, many countries of the Third World have realized the importance of science and technology and are making conscious efforts towards establishing productive scientific enterprises. The nature of scientific enterprise - its planning, funding, thrust areas, etc. - differs from country to country, largely depending upon size and national priorities. Much of the literature on the productivity of scientific enterprise of different nations is on science in the developed world. Very little attention has been paid so far to assess the scientific output and its impact on national economies of scientifically middle level and peripheral countries. Notable exceptions are the works of Davidson Frame, 2 Arunachalam and Musoke, a Garfield,4 Rabkin and lnhaber, s and Braun and coworkers. 6~7 It is with this background we wanted to examine how small countries fared in a word of big science. For example, in an earlier study, it was found that physics research in Isfael is an integral part of mainstream word physics, a *Author to whom correspondence may be addressed. Scientometrics 8 (1985) Elsevier, Amsterdam-Oxford-New York Akaddmiai K iad6, Budapest  S. ARUNACHALAM, K. C. GARG: SCIENCE IN SINGAPORE We wanted to examine how the five ASEAN countries - economically advanced and having very close links with the Western World - performed in science. In this preliminary paper, we report our results on Singapore. The Republic of Singapore, which became a sovereign state in 1965 after 150 years of British dominance, is virtually a city state with a total land area of 617.8 km 2 and a population of about 2.47 million (in 1982). Her gross domestic product (GDP) during the first half of 1980 grew by 10.7 per cent on an annual basis and the per capita gross national product (GNP) during 1980 was US $6515. This growth in economy is largely due to expansion in exports of goods and services and the increase in private sector manufacturing investments. The other socio-economic Table 1 Social and economic indicators of Singapore Area, km 2 617.8 Population mid-1982 (millions) 2.47 Life expectancy at birth (1981). years 72 Gross domestic product (1981), million US $ 12 910 Per capita GNP (1982), US $ 5 910 Annual growth rate (1960-82), % 7.4 Adult literacy, (1980), % 83 No. of TV sets per thousand people 168 Total No of newspapers (in 4 languages) 11 Number of newspapers sold daily per thousand people (1981) 261 No. of telephones per thousand people (lq81) 313 No of cars per thousand people (1981) 65 No. of scooters/motor-bicycles per thousand people (1981) 52 6-11 years old in primary schools, % 107 12-19 years old in secondary schools, % 55 20-24 years old in higher education, % 8 No. of doctors per thousand people (1980) 0.87 Per capita energy consumption, kg oil equivalent (1980) 4 492 Percentage of population between 15 and 64 years (1982), % 66 Percentage of labor force in agriculture (1980), % 2 Percentage of labor force in industry (1980), % 39 Percentage of labor force in services (1980), % 59 Unemployment rate (% of total labor) 2.9 Total No. of potential scientists-engineers/technicians 12 610 S&T personnel actually deployed in R&D (1977) per million population 5 460 No. of publishing scientists (1981, data from ISI, Philadelphia) 190 Per capita expenditure on R&D per annum (1977, US $) 2.4 Sources 1. World Development Report, 1984, World Bank and Oxford University Press. 2. Statesman Yearbook, 1983-84. 3. Encyclopedia of the Third World, edited by Kurien. 13 302 Scientometrics 8 (1985)  S. ARUNACHALAM, K. C. GARG: SCIENCE IN SINGAPORE indicators (Table 1) like high life expectancy at birth, high adult literacy rate, high investment in education, research and development and health, and high percentage of the labour force in the service sector clearly make Singapore a developed society. Methodology This assessment of science in Singapore is entirely based on publication and citation data, and is similar to the study of Arunachalam and Musoke on science in Africa. 3 We collected data on publications from the corporate author index of the Science O tation Index {SC1), 1979 and 1980. Unfortunately, several entries in this listing of SCI are shown more than once. However, we have taken care to include such entries only once. For each one of these papers srcinating from Singapore, we identified the papers citing it in subsequent years by scanning the citation index section of the SCI, 1979-1982. Our data consist of two parts: (1) a list of papers from Singapore, covered by SCI 1979 and 1980, each one of them carrying the name of the first author, institutional address and the journal where it was published; and (2) citations in the literature to each one of these papers in the four-year period 1979-1982. The data were used to identify the distribution of the publications according to journals used, subject, and the institutions from where they came. We also identified highly cited papers and prolific authors. Analysis There were 136 papers from Singapore covered by SCI 1979 and 122 by SCI 1980. From the titles of the journals where they were published, we classified these papers into six groups (Table 2). Medical science predominates with almost 50% of the papers being in medical and related journals. The emphasis on other areas, viz. mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences and engineering is about equal. This is not at all surprising, according to Chan Tao Soon, 9 President of the Nanyang Technological Institute, for the Medical Faculty is the most established faculty with a history of over 150 years whereas the other faculties have a history of between 15 and 40 years. The University of Singapore dominated the scientific enterprise of the Republic, accounting for 76% of the Republic's scientific publications (Table 3). The Nanyang University published 22 papers and other institutions were responsible for 40 papers. In 1980, however, the two universities were merged to form the National University Scientometrics 8 H985) 303  S. ARUNACHALAM, K. C. GARG: SCIENCE IN SINGAPORE Table 2 Subjectwise distribution of papers as seen from titles of the journals (Data from SCI, 1979 and 1980) Year No. Field Total 1979 1980 1 Medical Sciences 72 53 125 2 Engineering Sciences 11 18 29 3 Physical Sciences 9 16 25 4 Mathematical Sciences 11 11 22 5 Biological Sciences 14 4 18 6 Chemical Sciences 5 13 18 7 Others 14 7 21 Grand total 136 122 258 Table 3 Institutionwise distribution of Singapore research papers SCI Year No. Total 1979 1980 A. University of Singapore* 1 Faculty of Medicine 27 24 51 2 Singapore General Hospital 26 8 34 3 Departments of Engineering 11 18 29 4 Kandang Karbau Hospital 11 10 21 5 Department of Mathematics 6 10 16 6 Department of Chemistry 3 7 10 7 Department of Biochemistry 5 2 7 8 Department of Botany 6 1 7 9 Department of Zoology 3 1 4 10 Others 10 12 22 B. Nanyang University* 1 Department of Physics 7 3 10 2 Department of Mathematics 4 1 5 3 Department of Chemistry 2 3 5 4 Others 1 1 2 C. Other Institutions 14 21 35 Grand total 136 122 258 *A and B are now merged into the National University of Singapore. 304 Scientometrics 8 (1985)  S. ARUNACHALAM, K. C. GARG: SCIENCE IN SINGAPORE of Singapore. Among the 196 papers from the University of Singapore 106 were either from the Faculty of Medicine or the hospitals attached. All the 29 papers in engineering came from the departments of engineering of this university. Journal use Singapore is too small a nation to be able to sustain many national scientific journals. However, there are a few national journals published from Singapore, e.g., Singapore Journal of Obstetrics and Gynacology; Singapore Journal of Primary Industries; Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography; Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore; and Bulletin of the Physical Society of Singapore, none of which like many other Third World journals, is covered in SCI. All the work done in Singapore and covered by SCI is published in foreign journals, most of them from the USA, UK and the Netherlands. Nineteen journals in which Singapore scientists published at least theree papers in the two years 1979-1980 account for 75 of the 258 articles (Table 4). One hundred and nineteen papers were published in journals which had an impact factor of one or more as seen from JCR 1979.1 o Forty-four of these papers were published in journals having an impact factor of two or more, 21 in journals of impact factors three or more and five in journals of impact factor greater than five. Many of these high impact journals are in the areas of medicine (clinical, surgery, etc.) and in life sciences closely related to medical research, both put together accounting for 85 articles. Twenty-three papers in physics, 10 papers in chemistry and six papers in botany also appeared in journals of impact factor greater than one. Almost all Singapore papers are published in English and there appears to be no particular preference for commercial or society journals (Table 5). CTtedness of Singapore papers The 258 papers in our sample have in all been cited 383 times in the period of 1979-82. One-hundred and thirty of these papers were not cited even once. At the other extreme, at least six papers have been cited more than 10 times and 22 papers have won 5 citations or more (Table 6). Nearly one-fourth of the citations are self- citations (tin first author basis). That the citation record of science performed in Singapore is poor becomes obvious if we compare it with the citation record of a few other nations. We present in Table 7 data on the 100 Singapore papers covered in SCI 1978 as well as the 5-year (1978-82) citation impact of papers published by several other countries in Scientometrics 8 (1985) 305
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