NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2016

Published biennially, the National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) provides quantifiable measures of the scope, quality, and vitality of the science and engineering enterprise, both in the United States and around the world.

Scopus Data Provides a Global View of Research

The 2016 Indicators report is the first to use metrics derived from data in Elsevier's Scopus database. The NSF turned to Scopus for a more global view of research trends — the 2016 analysis included research output from books and expanded coverage of conference proceedings, in addition to nearly 17,000 journals, compared to the 5,087 included in the 2014 report.

(Source: National Science Foundation. (n.d.). New Data Source for Indicators Expands Global Coverage)

Global Highlights

Global Investment in R&D on the Rise

The global amount of R&D expenditure has doubled in the decade following 2003.

Total R&D investment in 2013 was $1.67 trillion.

Global amount of R&D expenditure graphic


China exhibited the highest average annual growth in domestic R&D expenditure.

China growth graphic


Global Investment in R&D on the Rise graphic

Research Output on the Rise

While the US and European Union continue to produce the most research in total, China, Brazil, and India saw rapid growth in research output from 2003-2013.

Over this period, China's share of global research tripled.

Research Output on the Rise graphic

Global Share of Research Publications 2013 graphic

Research without Borders

The highest levels of international collaboration takes place in the Geosciences, Biological Sciences, and Chemistry.

Research without Borders graphic

Astronomy graphic

"The use of the Scopus database represents a substantial increase in the global coverage of bibliometric data compared to prior years. The change...allows NSF to present data on the most highly cited S&E publications as well as on a broader set of publications that provide insight into trends in emerging and developing countries."
Science and Engineering Indicators 2016

US Highlights

Focus on Biological and Medical Sciences

46% of all US science and engineering publications are in the biological or medical sciences; but where does each sector focus most of its work?

Focus on Biological and Medical Sciences graphic

Increased Collaboration between US and Global Researchers

Between 2000 and 2013, the global share of scientific and engineering publications with authors from more than one country grew by 45.5%. How much do US researchers collaborate internationally?

Increased Collaboration between US and Global Researchers header graphic

Increased Collaboration between US and Global Researchers graphic