Over at Science Watch, Christopher King has a short report on the progress of Indian science since 1981. The year 2000 was a major turning point:
In 1985, the number was approximately 12,500, and for the next 15 years the total never much exceeded 14,000. Around the year 2000, however, the number began to tick upwards, rising to nearly 17,000 in 2001, reaching 20,000-plus in 2003, and winding up at more than 27,000 in 2007.
But the citation impact continues to lag the world average in every field (check out the graphs accompanying the report). In physics, for example, citations received per paper from India is about 80 percent of the world average (3.13 vs. 3.96 per paper).
Yet another factoid that caught my attention is this bit about my field:
Materials Science, in fact, is the field in which India displays the steepest growth in representation during the period covered by National Science Indicators. In 1981, only 432 Thomson Reuters-indexed materials papers included an India institutional address—3.68% of the field. In 2007, nearly 2,300 papers with India-based authors were indexed, a share of 6.13%.
Interestingly, the previous issue of Science Watch carried a similar report about China, so some direct comparisons are possible. Overall, the science enterprise in China is about three times as large as that in India, and China's citation figures, like India's, lag behind the world average in all the fields.
Here's some interesting stuff about China's progress in materials science:
China's greatest concentration in the latest five-year period proved to be in materials science, but the change between then and now is striking and illustrative of China's progress. In the previous survey, the nation fielded roughly 15,000 materials papers, or nearly 10.5% of Thomson Reuters-indexed papers in the field. The current figures, by contrast, show more than 27,000 materials papers, representing upwards of 16% of the field. [...]