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European Paradox or Delusion—Are European Science and Economy Outdated?


  • Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro
  • Francis Narin


The European Union (EU) seems to presume that the mass production of European research papers indicates that Europe is a leading scientific power, and the so-called European paradox of strong science but weak technology is due to inefficiencies in the utilization of this top level European science by European industry. We fundamentally disagree, and will show that Europe lags far behind the USA in the production of important, highly cited research. We will show that there is a consistent weakening of European science as one ascends the citation scale, with the EU almost twice as effective in the production of minimal impact papers, while the USA is at least twice as effective in the production of very highly cited scientific papers, and garnering Nobel prizes. Only in the highly multinational, collaborative fields of Physics and Clinical Medicine does the EU seem to approach the USA in top scale impact.

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  • Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro & Francis Narin, 2018. "European Paradox or Delusion—Are European Science and Economy Outdated?," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 14-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:scippl:v:45:y:2018:i:1:p:14-23.

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lutz Bornmann & Caroline Wagner & Loet Leydesdorff, 2018. "The geography of references in elite articles: Which countries contribute to the archives of knowledge?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(3), pages 1-14, March.
    2. Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro & Ricardo Brito, 2019. "Probability and expected frequency of breakthroughs: basis and use of a robust method of research assessment," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 119(1), pages 213-235, April.
    3. Raquel Carrasco & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2019. "Spatial mobility in elite academic institutions in economics: the case of Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 141-172, June.
    4. Rodríguez-Navarro, Alonso & Brito, Ricardo, 2018. "Technological research in the EU is less efficient than the world average. EU research policy risks Europeans’ future," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 718-731.
    5. Bornmann, Lutz & Adams, Jonathan & Leydesdorff, Loet, 2018. "The negative effects of citing with a national orientation in terms of recognition: National and international citations in natural-sciences papers from Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 931-949.

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