Regional growth and greater political stability in the Asia region, allowing greater investment in education and research, have reduced the brain drain of researchers and academics and led to a rapid increase in research results. in South and East Asia.
From 12,000 articles per year, research results in the region have increased tenfold since 2000, accounting for 8% of global publications, according to the Global Research Report – South and East Asia of the Web’s Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) of Science. He notes that there is still “unused potential” in the region’s research base.
The region has enormous resources and a vast potential for innovation and success, but Asian countries cannot afford to underinvest in science and technology education and research – they must devote resources to research to keep pace with other countries growing their research economies, says the report released Oct. 3.
He reviews research in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.
India leads regional research producers with 75,000 articles per year. This is followed by Singapore, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand, each with more than 5,000 publications per year, double the research output over the past decade. Vietnam is emerging with the fastest growing research publications in the region. It has more than quintupled its volume of indexed publications since 2009.
Research growth factors
Several factors led to the growth of research in South and East Asia starting in 2000, said Jonathan Adams, director of the Institute for Scientific Information and co-author of the report.
As the region has become much more stable, combined with economic growth, it has allowed more investment in education and other public services, and the expanding higher education environment has encouraged talented researchers to come back and stay in Asia, rather than moving to universities elsewhere, Adams explained.
“As economies grow, governments can afford to look at factors like investments in innovation that increase their competitiveness, resulting in a very healthy upward beneficial spiral,” a- he declared. News from academia.
However, research growth has slowed in Thailand, the region’s second-largest economy.
The reasons are unclear, but political instability and economic uncertainty must play a role, Adams said, adding that the level of investment in research and development (R&D) has not been sustained and that private sector demand for skills and innovation is low.
Pakistan has one of the region’s lowest levels of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) – 0.25% as a percentage of the country’s gross domestic product.
Mid-sized research economies like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines and Sri Lanka have reached 1,000 to 5,000 articles per year. Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Brunei have less than 500 articles per year.
While the data demonstrates the extent of research development in the region, it also reflects disparities in population, wealth and research intensity and shows unrealized potential for further development in many areas, notes The report.
“This development should stimulate the infrastructure of higher education and research which should lead to a sustained growth of national knowledge capacity, reduce dependence on international partnerships and support technological innovation and economic competitiveness, ”the report says.
To fully harness the benefits of research growth in South and East Asia, the report recommends bridging the gap between economic development and research performance and investing in people, as the relative number of researchers in the workforce is still very low for many countries in South and East Asia. countries, and this must be linked to the financing and development of higher education.
Universities in the region must be free to pursue their own programs of reflection and innovation, the report adds.
The innovation potential of each region (globally) is huge due to the untapped number of talented people, Adams said, but South and East Asia has the advantage of examples close to Asia-Pacific and the support of these neighbors, especially China, which is declared in the report as both “more tangible and more enduring” than the historic aid-based relationship with Europe and the United States. United States.
Collaborations are important
Different levels and natures of collaborations also play a role in the research results generated by a country, the report found.
International programs and major international projects are numerous – notably in the fields of health, environment and natural resources, and physics – and in part shaped by the nature of the contemporary research challenges which must be based on on global expertise. The disadvantage of international collaboration was less than the average of national collaborations.
In February 2019, an independent report on research in South Asia by the World Bank and academic publisher Elsevier focused on how collaboration is shaping the research environment in the region.
In the report, South Asia: Challenges and Benefits of Research Collaboration in a Diverse Region, India’s dominance shines through, garnering 88% of global academic output.
However, with less than 20% of South Asian publications resulting from international collaboration, India’s relatively low rate of international research collaboration lowers the regional average.
As the ISI report indicates, among South Asian countries, the size of search results appears to be inversely correlated with the frequency of international collaboration – countries with the smallest research bases are the most common. more likely to take advantage of international networks.
In all the countries of South Asia, most international collaborations include at least one researcher from outside the region. Intra-regional collaboration is very weak.
The overall impact of research citations in South Asia was lower than the global average, and the impact of research citations produced in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives exceeds average global.
These countries compensate for their limited research bases by participating in large-scale collaborative projects, such as hyper-collaborative physics papers and medical research of international importance, including clinical guidelines, studies of the Organization. World Health Organization and publications resulting from the Global Epidemiological Study on the Global Burden of Disease. .
The lack of a unified collaborative framework, with institutions in each country using different and independent systems to establish academic and scientific partnerships, was identified as one of the challenges of collaboration.
Only 1.3% of South Asian academic output are collaborations between academic institutions and the private sector; that’s about half the world average. This has resulted in fewer patent citations than the global average.
The region needs to improve the quality of research collaboration by developing competitive funding mechanisms, with the aim of strengthening peer review processes and building the capacity of regional academics, the report suggests.