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Yet another step

Scientific production grows and Brazil is already responsible for 1.8% of the articles published in the world

Brazilian scientific production reached an unprecedented level in 2005: it was responsible for 1.8% of all of the articles published in indexed scientific periodicals within the ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) data base, the index that measures research activity in the world. In absolute terms, the quantity of articles published in 2005 reached 15,777, as opposed to 13,313 in 2004, when Brazil had attained 1.7% of worldwide production. In spite of growth, Brazil keeps its 17th position from the previous year. It so happened that the other countries ahead of Brazil also increased, such as China (29%) and India (21%).

“Brazil has advanced 49% over the last five years, which means that in three years it could jump up to 15th position, overtaking two major countries ahead, namely Switzerland and Sweden”, said Jorge de Almeida Guimarães , the president of the Tertiary Level Personnel Training Coordination (Capes). One of the highlights in the 2005 data is the contribution of researchers in the medical sphere. During 2005 they reached 19.7% of national production and took, for the first time, first place from the researchers in the area of physics who had 15.0% of the total. Brazilian production has been advancing in a consistent manner since the 1980’s. Recently Brazil left behind Belgium and Austria, but the growth has not been on a par with the evolution of countries such as China and India. The Chinese published 59,361 articles, 29% more than in 2004. At the top of the ranking sits the United States with 32.7% of worldwide scientific production.

The Achilles heel
The high performance is attributed to a cultural change: Brazilian researchers are more and more conscious of the importance of divulging their scientific production. But an Achilles heel persists in the technological application of knowledge. Brazil continues stagnating in 27th position  among the countries that register the most patents.

For FAPESP’s scientific director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, the growth in scientific production demonstrated the correctness of a national government policy, which over the last fifty years has been supporting post-graduation and academic research. He underlines that the complementary situation between state and federal support has been fundamental. “The State of São Paulo corresponds to more than one half of this production, thanks to the continuing support of the São Paulo contribution from the three excellent state universities, USP, Unicamp and Unesp, the 20 state research institutes and FAPESP, alongside the expressive support by federal agencies as well as the activities of federal research institutions in the State”, he advised.