Tag Archives: Brain drain

Is China really becoming a science and technology superpower?

[read the FULL PAPER : ‘Measuring cultural biases in medical research‘] [in French]

Every now and then we hear stories about the making of China as a scientific superpower. How it overtook France in the global University Rankings:

‘In the 2014 edition of the world 500 top research universities, China keeps progressing. China has 9 universities among the top 200 (77 in the USA, 20 in Great-Britain, 14 in Germany, 8 in France). The trend is impressive: in 2004, China had only one University in the to 200.’ Source: LesEchos.fr

How it keeps increasing its volume of scientific publications produced:

‘The increased share of scientific publications produced by China (+231% between 2002 and 2012) is another indicator of the Chinese scientific growth. According to Ghislaine Filliatreau [of the French OST], it’s not only just an augmentation in volume but also in quality.’ LesEchos.fr

In China really becoming a scientific superpower? It may be so. We should however be careful how we interpret bibliometric information (volume and quality of scientific publications). There could be huge cultural biases currently unaccounted for, impacting international bibliometric rankings.

For example, let’s look at Scimago Journal and Country Ranking, an index based on the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.). China is already the second country in the world according to the number of scientific publications produced between 1996 and 2003. But if we consider the number of citations excluding self-citations, then China comes after Spain. The reason is that the ratio of citations per citable document (excluding self-citations) is lower than average.

Scimago Country Rankings

Next week, at ICOS2014 (the 25th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences and premier conference in the field of name studies), we will explore some of the cultural biases at play in LifeSciences. A presentation of PubMed (MedLine/PMC) data mining using NamSor software, conducted with onomast Eugène Schochenmayer, will take place at Glasgow University on the 28th of August.

Onomastics to measure cultural bias in medical research (ABSTRACT)

This project involves the analysis of about one million medical research articles from PubMed. We propose to evaluate the correlation between the onomastic class of the article authors and that of the citation authors. We will demonstrate that the cultural bias exists and also that it evolves in time. Between 2007 and 2008, the ratio of articles authored by Chinese scientists (or scientists with Chinese names) nearly tripled. We will evaluate how fast this surge in Chinese research material (or research material produced by scientists of Chinese origin) became cross-referenced by other authors with Chinese or non-Chinese names. We hope to find that the onomastics provide a good enough estimation of the cultural bias of a research community. The findings can improve the efficiency of a particular research community, for the benefit of Science and the whole humanity.

Some of the tools we’ve used to produce this research:

  • MonetDB, the open-source column-store pioneer; due to the multiplicative aspect of some queries (ex. counting articles authored by a scientist with a Chinese name, cited by a scientist with -say- an Italian name) the volume was huge and we couldn’t do with a classic database
  • RapidMiner, a leading open-source data mining and predictive analytics software
  • Our own RapidMiner Onomastics Extension, to predict the gender and likely origin of personal names

About Evgeny Shokhenmayer

Dr. Evgeny Shokhenmayer (MoDyCo, Paris 10), editor of e-Onomastics, online blog focused on onomastics research and publications.

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people. NamSor launched @FDIMagnet,  a consulting offering to help Investment Promotion Agencies and High-Tech Clusters leverage a Diaspora to connect with business and scientific communities abroad.

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Announcing NamSor™ for Life Sciences

Life Sciences is a key sector for countries to create organic growth, as well as to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). It is a sector of constant innovation: public institutions and private companies need access to local and international talents to thrive and remain competitive.

Having an accurate picture of a country’s local talent is critical to make strong local industries stronger (in BioTech, MedTech, Pharma, AgroTech, Industrial BioTech, …)

Talent in Life Sciences is global: the key people who can help design new products, make scientific or technical breakthroughs are mobile: they may be in the US, Switzerland, Denmark or somewhere else. How do you access international talent? Your best ambassadors to attract world class scientists are the people who are already working in your company or your country today.

Read further:

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.

NamSor launched FDIMagnet,  a consulting offering to help Investment Promotion Agencies and High-Tech Clusters leverage a Diaspora to connect with business and scientific communities abroad.

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NamSor Applied Onomastics to help Lithuania become a talent magnet in BioTech

LTUWorld reblog

Recognizing names and their origin in global scientific and technology databases allows research institutes and high-tech companies identify where the ‘brain juice‘ flows internationally. What are the main talent magnets (universities, companies) in a particular field? How best can a growing biotechnology industrial cluster retain local talent, as well as attract international professors?

Professor Daumantas Matulis, Head of Department of Biothermodynamics and Drug Design at the Institute of Biotechnology (Vilnius University) said ‘NamSor did a pilot project for us and helped us better understand the depth and breadth of Lithuanian talent deployed internationally, in the field of BioTech and Medical Research.’

Kotryna Stankute, Acting Director at Global Lithuania Leaders (GLL), network of international Lithuania-affiliated professionals, said it is crucially important to each country to be aware about their talent pool based out of the country. A strategy of networking with the world-wide Lithuanian professionals’ Diaspora and their engagement can turn brain drain to brain exchange.

Elian Carsenat, founder of NamSor, said ‘We data mined millions of research articles from PubMed Central® (PMC) to recognize Lithuanian names (or names related to Lithuania). By a happy accident, we also discovered that there exist cultural biases in medical research : a scientist of a given culture or origin is more likely to be interested in a particular topic; some scientific communities are more or less likely to be cited by another community. Such cultural biases could even impact the overall bibliometric ranking of a country’s scientific research. We turned this serendipity into a paper, which will share at the International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS 2014, Glasgow, August).’

In September 2014, Lithuania will host Life Sciences Baltics 2014, the only international forum in the Baltic region for world-class biotechnology, pharma and medical devices experts worldwide.

About the Institute of Biotechnology
Founded in 1975 as the all Union Research Institute of Applied Enzimology, currently,  the Institute of Biotechnology is mainly involved in research and training in the fields of biotechnology and molecular biology, including research and development of recombinant biomedical proteins, genetic and molecular studies of restriction modification phenomenon, developing of viruses diagnostics, epigenetic study of small RNA, drug design and synthesis, bioinformatics.

About NamSor
NamSor™ Applied Onomastics[i] is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.

NamSor launched FDIMagnet,  a consulting offering to help Investment Promotion Agencies and High-Tech Clusters leverage a Diaspora to connect with business and scientific communities abroad.

[i] Onomastics (or onomatology) is the science of proper names. NamSor and NomTri are registered trademarks.

PDF document 20140101_NamSor_BioTech_offering_vFinaf.pdf

Further reading : [Leveraging a large Diaspora for Economic Growth | Investment Promotion Agency innovates to attract Foreign Direct Investments | Onomastics for Business]

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About travelling IDEAS and the Global Innovation GAP : South Korea

As a follow-up to the previous post, where we used onomastics to outline Poland as a country very sensitive to external brain drain, we thought useful to show the opposite example of South Korea : a country with a clear innovation strategy and a narrow the gap between Innovation input (education, financing, etc.) and Innovation output (patents, knowledge, etc.)

South Korea was ranked second in the other Global Innovation Index, Blumberg’s 50 Most Innovative Countries. Besides the tremendous energy displayed in the Gangnam Style (강남스타일), we believe one reason for South Korea’s success is that it is less sensitive to “brain drain”. South Korean brain juice goes to South Korea first.

South Korea brain juice top recipients

Reversely some other countries, such as Poland, are bleeding human resources : Polish people (people with polish names) apply for patents in the US, in Germany – before anywhere else.

Polish brain juice top recipients (1993-2013)

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About travelling IDEAS and the Global Innovation GAP

[Jan 2014, on this topic : NamSor Applied Onomastics to help Lithuania become a talent magnet in BioTech]

Recently, the French-based INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published The Global Innovation Index 2012 (GII), in collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent, Booz&Co, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Why is innovation is such a strategic issue? For different reasons depending on the country’s economic situation:

– traditional industrial countries would like to maintain their lead : for example Switzerland leads the pack, Germany keeps it’s pace, France is slowly loosing it;

– some countries depend too much on a specific sector and would like to diversify their economy : for example the United-Kingdom relies too much on Financial Services, the Russian Federation relies too much on Oil, Gas and other commodities;

– the emerging countries that have big service and manufacturing industries would like to join the club of advanced countries, through innovation : for example Brazil, China and India.

It’s not just a matter for one country to reach sustainable economic growth : the world’s economic balance is at stake. Should China for example, with its immense trade surpluses and its population, reach the status of a innovative country – the economic balance as well as the strategic balance with its neighbours will have definitively shifted.

The Global Innovation Index 2012 report is an excellent document, very useful to guide governmental policies on innovation. However, we believe something is missing : innovation, like financial resources, moves around. Students, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs travel. Ideas travel with them and sometimes without them. This is not accounted in the Global Innovation Index report.

On page 6 (and excerpt below), we can see the overall structure of the Global Innovation Index : it distinguishes Innovation Input (for example, Education and Investment) and Innovation Output (for example, Knowledge creation and Online creativity). But what if a country has a good education system, but not enough Investment or a poor Business environment? You guessed right : students, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs will go somewhere else and their ideas will grow some other country’s Innovation Output. This natural movement can be reinforced by an active brain drain by a country with the means to do it.

We believe Onomastics can help account for those movements of ideas across borders. Below, a (very draft) account of where the Polish brain juice went over the past 20 years.

Polish brain juice top recipients (1993-2013)

Over the past 20 years, Polish ideas went to grow the following countries’ innovation output : the United-States, Germany, Poland, Canada, Great-Britain, Israel, Switzerland, Netherland, France … and some other countries.

Call for collaboration : we would be delighted to work with a Consulting firm, a Think tank or a University to help and prepare a comprehensive report on the global gaps between Innovation input and Innovation output, using onomastics analysis. We believe it will help countries tune their innovation policy and reduce the innovation IO gap : with great business value and strategic benefits in the long term.

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©2013 NameSorts.com – NamSor™ NomTri™

— EXCERPT – slide P6 – Structure of the Global Innovation Index —

Innovation Input

Institutions (Political environment, Regulatory environment, Business environment)
Human capital & research (Education, Tertiary education, Research & development)
Infrastructure (ICT, General infrastructure,Ecological sustainability)
Market sophistication (Credit Investment, Trade & competition)
Business sophistication (Knowledge workers, Innovation linkages, Knowledge absorption)

Innovation Output

Knowledge & technology outputs (Knowledge creationn Knowledge impact, Knowledge diffusion)
Creative outputs (Creative intangibles, Creative goods & services, Online creativity)


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