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A Novel Metric for Assessing National Strength in Scientific Research: Understanding China’s Research Output in Quantum Technology through Collaboration

Yuqi Wang, Yue Chen, Zhiqi Wang, Kang Wang, Kai Song   

  1. WISE Lab, Institute of Science of Science and S&T management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
  • Received:2022-05-24 Revised:2022-08-20 Accepted:2022-09-19
  • Contact: Yue Chen (Email: chenyuedlut@163.com).

Abstract: Purpose: The 5th Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee clearly states that developing science and technology through self-reliance and self-strengthening provides the strategic underpinning for China’s development. Based on this background, this paper explores a metric model for assessing national scientific research strength through collaboration on research papers.
Design/methodology/approach: We propose a novel metric model for assessing national scientific research strength, which sets two indicators, national scientific self-reliance (SR) and national academic contribution (CT), to reflect “self-reliance” and “self-strengthening” respectively. Taking the research papers in quantum technology as an example, this study analyzes the scientific research strength of various countries around the world, especially China in quantum technology.
Findings: The results show that the research of quantum technology in China has always been relatively independent with fewer international collaboration papers and located in a more marginal position in cooperation networks. China’s academic contribution (CT) to global quantum technology research is increasing and has been greater than that of the United States in 2020. Combining the two indicators, CT and SR, China’s research strength in the quantum field closely follows the United States, and the United States is the most powerful with high research autonomy.
Research limitations: This paper only reflects China’s scientific research strength in quantum technology from collaboration on research papers and doesn’t consider the segmentation of quantum technology and the industrial upstream and downstream aspects, which need further study.
Practical implications: The model is helpful to better understand the national scientific research strength in a certain field from “self-reliance” and “self-strengthening”.
Originality/value: We propose a novel metric model to measure the national scientific research strength from the perspective of “self-reliance” and “self-strengthening”, which provides a solid basis for the assessment of the strength level of scientific research in countries/regions and institutions.

Key words: National Scientific Research Strength, Academic Contribution, National Scientific Self-reliance Index, Quantum Technology Research