From the “European Paradox” to a European Drama in citation impact
This paper has two main aims: (i) to criticize the diagnosis about the research performance of the EU contained in the so-called “European Paradox”, according to which Europe plays a leading world role in terms of scientific excellence, but lacks the entrepreneurial capacity of the U.S. to transform this excellence into innovation, growth, and jobs; and (ii) to study the heterogeneity among the 15 member countries of the EU prior to the 2004 accession. For the first aim, we use a Thomson Scientific dataset with 3.6 million articles published in 1998-2002 with a five-year citation window, and a partition of the world into three large geographical areas including the U.S., the EU, and the rest of the world. For the second aim, we use a dataset with 800,000 articles more published in 2003, and a partition of the world into 38 countries and eight geographical areas. The main results are the following two. Firstly, the European Paradox hides a truly European Drama: judging from citation impact in the periodical literature, the dominance of the U.S. over the EU is almost universal at all aggregation levels. Secondly, since the UK and six small European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, and Sweden) perform relatively well, the explanation of this European Drama must be found in the relative poor performance of Germany and France and, above all, Italy and Spain among the four larger continental countries
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