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The number of scientific papers published by researchers in the Asia-Pacific region could exceed the number from the United States within six or seven years, says a US report published in the July/August issue of ScienceWatch.

Asia-Pacific nations, led by China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, produced 25 per cent of the world's scientific papers in 2004, just below the United States with 33 per cent. European researchers produced 38 per cent of the papers.

In contrast, Asia was responsible for just 16 per cent of global scientific output in 1990. A US National Science Foundation analysis in 2004 found that the rapid growth of scientific output in Asia-Pacific nations is in stark contrast to slow growth in Europe and stagnation in the United States.

One reason for Asia's increase in scientific output is its strong economic growth, which has resulted in more funds for research. Scientists are also increasingly being evaluated in terms of the papers they publish in indexed journals.

Some research institutes have even adopted a policy of paying researchers for publishing in recognised journals. 

Link to full Nature news story