3.1 Papers and citations per head of population
Why is it significant?
A strong science base is essential in developed economies, both as a source of research and expertise, and as the training ground for the scientists and technologists of the future. The number of scientific papers published provides an indication of the production of knowledge and the number of citations gives an indication of the quality of that knowledge. However, the number of citations in the UK will be biased upwards because English is widely read and understood.

 How does the UK perform?
The UK has a world-class science base. As chart 3.1 shows, when papers published and citations are adjusted for a country’s population, the UK leads the G7. In terms of the overall share of citations, the UK is second only to the US. Germany and Japan are, however, closing the gap to the UK. This generally reflects the position of each of the broad science disciplines, but there is some variation. For example, the UK’s share of citations is behind the US and France for mathematics, and behind the US, Germany and Japan for both physical sciences and engineering.