Mikko Packalen (University of Waterloo): Edge Science in China

China’s meteoric rise as a producer of scientific knowledge has been much debated, with many questioning China’s ability to produce truly novel science. We apply text analysis to scientific publications to calculate to what extent Chinese scientists try out relatively new ideas in their work. We demonstrate that China’s progress relative to the edge of the scientific frontier has been uneven: in some areas China now a co-leader in terms of building on new ideas but in other areas China is far behind countries at the frontier. To examine the breadth of progress in China, we also calculate the propensity to engage in edge science separately for each Chinese university.

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