Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

The information from the bibliographic database used was compiled using the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science service (previously Thomson Reuters IP & Science Division). A scientific publication is generally produced through collaboration between researchers and therefore has several institutional addresses from different countries. The contribution of each country to the publication is considered here by counting 1/N for each address, with N the number of addresses in the different countries.

A country’s publications are those for which at least one of the authors is located in this country.

A country’s worldwide share of publications is the ratio between the number of publications produced by a country and the number of publications produced worldwide.

A country’s impact index is the ratio between its share of worldwide citations after two years and its worldwide share of publications. The impact index is standardised per specific subject area to take account of the disciplinary structure of each country.

A country’s specialisation index in a field of education is the ratio between its worldwide share of publications in this field of education and its share in all fields of education.

The robustness of indicators is boosted by calculating them as a smoothed annual average over three years (the value for 2015 is the average of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 values).

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46 France's scientific profil through its publications

In 2015, France showed a balanced profile in terms of fields of education which was nevertheless qualified by a major specialisation in mathematics. France stood out clearly from the United Kingdom and United States, which specialise more in Human and Social Sciences, and the Asian countries with a more divergent profile, as they are highly specialised in some fields of education and very little in others.

France's profile in terms of fields of education has changed little between 2005 and 2015. It appears balanced, with specialisation indices for each major field of education of between 0.8 and 1.2 in 2015, with the exception of a marked specialisation in Mathematics (1.59). The apparent despecialisation in Social Sciences (0.58) could be due in part to the few publications by French authors in the journals chosen by the reference base (see Methodology). The specialisation indices are greater than 1 in Physics and Astro-Sciences and lower than 1 in Applied Biology and Chemistry. Over the period, France increased its specialisation index in Social Sciences and Astro-Sciences but despecialised in Chemistry (chart 46.01).

The German profile in terms of fields of education is even more balanced than the French profile (chart 46.02). Germany appears to be more specialised in Human and Social Sciences than France, which means that the German publications in these fields of education are well referenced in the reference base. The United Kingdom has a far more divergent profile, with extensive specialisation in Human and Social Sciences (specialisation indices of 2.33 and 1.89) and little specialisation in Chemistry, Applied Biology, Mathematics and Engineering Sciences (with specialisation indices lower than 0.7).

Like the United Kingdom, the United States is highly specialised in Human Sciences (1.67) and Social Sciences (1.48). It specialises in Medical Research (1.25) and Fundamental Biology (1.22). It has despecialised in Chemistry (0.56) and Engineering Sciences (0.65) (chart 46.03).

The profiles of China and Japan in terms of fields of education show significant contrasts between major fields of education. China specialises extensively in Chemistry (1.78) and Engineering Sciences (1.55), whereas Japan is highly specialised in Physics (1.44), Chemistry (1.22) and Medical Research (1.22) (chart 46.03). Both these countries seem highly despecialised in Social and Human Sciences, but, as in France, this could be due in part to insufficient cover of the base.

At a more detailed level, a review of scientific fields of education where France, the United Kingdom and Germany combine specialisation and an increase this specialisation can assist in clarifying the analysis (chart 46.04). The United Kingdom has increased its specialisation in Social and Human Sciences, especially in Law, Arts and Philosophy, Art and Architecture, Political Science and History and Archaeology, where the specialisation indices are greater than 2 and growing by more than 20%. Germany, and to a lesser extent France, have both increased their specialisation in Economics to achieve specialisation indices of 1.42 and 1.23 and are catching up on the United Kingdom (1.60). Germany has also increased its specialisation in Psychology, Political Science and History and Archaeology. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have increased their specialisation in Astronomy and Astrophysics (specialisation index greater than 1.3) and in Neurosciences and Behavioural Sciences and in Geosciences. France is increasing especially its specialisation in Reproduction and Life Biology (1.26, + 38%), Bioengineering (1.14, + 28%) and Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies (1.21, +17%).

French publications have an impact index higher than the world average in Applied Biology (1.41), Astro-Sciences (1.18) and Physics (1.12), but this is lower than average in Human Sciences (0.73) and Social Sciences (0.87). The impact of French publications in Mathematics is close to the global average. United Kingdom publications have more impact than the French and German publications in all the major fields of education, including those where there is little specialisation. Germany has a higher impact than the world average in all fields of education except Engineering Sciences (table 46.05).

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How to cite this paper :

ENOCK LEVI Tessa, LAVILLE Françoise, SACHWALD Frédérique. France's scientific profil through its publications. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 46 [Accessed 05/22/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_R_46-france_s_scientific_profil_through_its_publications-ILL_03.php

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The information from the bibliographic database used was compiled using the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science service (previously Thomson Reuters IP & Science Division). A scientific publication is generally produced through collaboration between researchers and therefore has several institutional addresses from different countries. The contribution of each country to the publication is considered here by counting 1/N for each address, with N the number of addresses in the different countries.

A country’s publications are those for which at least one of the authors is located in this country.

A country’s worldwide share of publications is the ratio between the number of publications produced by a country and the number of publications produced worldwide.

A country’s impact index is the ratio between its share of worldwide citations after two years and its worldwide share of publications. The impact index is standardised per specific subject area to take account of the disciplinary structure of each country.

A country’s specialisation index in a field of education is the ratio between its worldwide share of publications in this field of education and its share in all fields of education.

The robustness of indicators is boosted by calculating them as a smoothed annual average over three years (the value for 2015 is the average of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 values).

 

Key figures


France's world share of publications
3.3%
 
2015
 
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Extract from the chapter "46. France's scientific profil through its publications".

Coverage: all subjects combined
Source: OST from HCERES, special tabulations of Thomson Reuters citation indexes
France's worldrank share of publications
7th
 rank
2015
 
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Extract from the chapter "46. France's scientific profil through its publications".

Coverage: all subjects combined
Source: OST from HCERES, special tabulations of Clarivate Analytics , Web of Science
World's number of scientific publications
1,643
 thousand of publications
2015
 
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Extract from the chapter "46. France's scientific profil through its publications".

Source: OST from HCERES, special tabulations of Clarivate Analytics , Web of Science
Impact index of France's scientific publications
1.05
 
2015
 
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Extract from the chapter "46. France's scientific profil through its publications".

Coverage: all subjects combined
Source: OST from HCERES, special tabulations of Clarivate Analytics , Web of Science
  See one more key figure  
Share of international co-publication for France
54.1%
 
2015
 
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Extract from the chapter "46. France's scientific profil through its publications".

Coverage: all subjects combined
Source: OST from HCERES, special tabulations of Clarivate Analytics , Web of Science

46.01 France's specialisation factor, by subject area (2005 and 2015)


2005
2015
 
 
 

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46.02 Specialisation factor by subject area for France, China, United States and Japan (2015)


China
United States
Japan
France
 
 
 

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46.03 Specialisation factor by subject area for France, Germany and United Kingdom (2015)


France
Germany
United Kingdom
 
 
 

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46.04 Impact index for France, Germany and United Kingdom (2015)


France
Germany
United Kingdom
 
 
 

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46.05 Specialisation factor by subject area for France, Germany and United Kingdom (2015)

 
France United Kingdom Germany
2015 Change
2005-2015
(%)
2015 Change
2005-2015
(%)
2015 Change
2005-2015
(%)
Astronomy, astrophysics 1.56 +19.7 1.37 +16.8 1.46 +14.8
History, archeology 1.50 -2.4 2.98 +27.4 1.06 +37.6
Geosciences 1.36 +7.6 1.08 +13.5 1.12 +19.3
Reproduction and developmental biology 1.26 +38.3 1.30 +3.7 0.95 -5.2
Economics 1.23 +48.3 1.60 -3.9 1.42 +76.2
Information and communication science and technology 1.21 +17.2 0.78 -3.5 1.02 +2.9
Language and literature, philosophy 1.17 -2.7 2.46 +49.0 1.00 +20.8
Bioingineering 1.14 +27.8 1.11 +4.5 1.37 +2.6
Neurosciences, behavioral sciences 1.02 +10.8 1.25 +14.1 1.35 +13.7
Art-architecture 1.00 -4.1 3.64 +47.0 0.76 -2.6
Psychology 0.65 +43.6 1.73 +14.4 1.39 +28.3
Political science 0.55 +54.0 3.13 +35.1 1.12 +27.0
Law 0.25 +141.1 2.36 +104.2 0.48 -1.0

 
 

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
47 - France's scientific publications - Tessa Enock Levi, Françoise Laville, Chris Roth & Marie-Laure Taillibert
In 2014, France accounted for 3.3% of worldwide scientific publications in all subject areas combined. Although French research shows a marked specialisation in the broad subject area of Mathematics and that of 'Astronomy and Astrophysics', its publications are most cited at international level in the subject areas of 'Agriculture and Plant Biology', 'Civil and Mining Engineering' and 'Agri-Food' [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
46 - France's scientific publications - Françoise Laville, Chris Roth & Marie-Laure Taillibert
In 2013, France accounted for 3.5% of worldwide scientific publications in all subject areas combined. Although French research shows a marked specialisation in the broad subject area of Mathematics and that of 'Astronomy and Astrophysics', its publications are most cited at international level in the subject areas of 'Agriculture and Plant Biology', 'Civil and Mining Engineering' and 'Agri-Food' [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
46 - le profil scientifique de la France à travers ses publications - Tessa Enock Levi, Françoise Laville & Frédérique Sachwald
En 2015, la France présente un profil disciplinaire équilibré, toutefois nuancé par une forte spécialisation en mathématiques. La France se distingue nettement du Royaume-Uni et des États-Unis, plus spécialisés en Sciences humaines et sociales (SHS), et des pays asiatiques au profil plus contrasté, car très fortement spécialisés sur certaines disciplines et très faiblement spécialisés sur d’autres [Consult the following page in french]


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