UN surveys global R&D. On 10 November 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization issued its second survey of global R&D. Since UNESCO’s first survey five years ago the US, the European Union, and Japan—a collective called the Triad in the report—have remained the biggest players in science and technology. According to the report, the US share of global gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) in 2007 was 32.6%; the EU’s was 23.1%, and Japan’s was 12.9%.

But the Triad’s primacy is weakening. This year China overtook Japan as the world’s second largest economy. China’s share of global GERD rose from 5.0% in 2003 to 8.9% in 2007. From 2002 to 2008, the report estimates that the total number of papers published by the world’s scientists rose by 34.5% to nearly a million. China’s publishing output in the same period rose by 174.7%.

The report anticipates that the global...

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