The greatest increases in Latin American publications between 1998 and 2001 were in engineering and technology, biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and space science.
Although articles on clinical medicine and biomedical research increased at a slower than average rate, the life sciences as a whole contributed nearly half of all science and engineering articles by Latin American authors in 2001.
The number of times that articles by Latin American researchers were cited in later publications also increased three-fold between 1988 and 2001.
Derek Hill, author of the NSF report, says that although in principle the increase in citations could reflect a well-documented tendency for authors to cite articles from their own countries, "the data suggest that most of the increase was from authors outside of Latin America citing Latin American authors".
The internationalisation of Latin American science is also reflected in the increased number of collaborations between scientists there and in other parts of the world.
In 1988, 29 per cent of Latin American articles had international co-authors. By 2001 this had risen to 43 per cent. In the same period, the number of countries whose researchers collaborated with Brazilians rose from 46 to 103.
The NSF report says that the number of article from Asia, which publishes more articles than Latin America, also grew very fast — more than doubling between 1988 and 2001 — largely because of a massive increase in China's output (see Big increase in Chinese science publishing reported).