Latin America Shows Rapid Rise in Published Science and Engineering Articles

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff October 22, 2004

The number of science and engineering (S&E) articles credited to Latin American authors almost tripled in the 13-year period from 1988-2001, significantly outpacing authors of other developing regions in the world. The output of Latin American authors grew by about 200%-by far the highest rate of increase during the period.

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) report, Latin America Shows Rapid Rise in S&E Articles , reveals that the Latin American increase in scientific articles was concentrated in four countries-Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico-which generated close to 90% of the region’s published articles in 2001 alone.

The new NSF report, which provides data and analysis on S&E articles produced by authors in developing countries, said that Latin American authors have been published in the world’s most influential journals, such as Science and Nature .

“This growth in Latin American science and engineering articles is important, not only for the Americas, but for the growing community of nations recognizing the engine of progress through science and technology,” said NSF Acting Director Arden Bement. “It indicates that the long-sought goal of more geographic diversity in science and engineering is finally coming to fruition.”

From 1988-2001, Brazil’s output of articles quadrupled, while Mexico’s more than tripled. The four leading countries, plus Costa Rica, Colombia and Venezuela, accounted for 95% of the Latin American contribution.

By field, the largest numbers of articles, and the largest shares, were in engineering and technology, along with biology and many of the physical sciences.

Latin American authors are also collaborating more on articles-with each other, and with scientists and engineers internationally. Fifty percent of Latin American articles were coauthored in 1988, according to Hill, rising to 71% in 2001. Their international collaborations also became more prominent. Latin Americans coauthored rising numbers of articles with researchers from other nations (from 29% in 1988 to 43% in 2001).