America's Knowledge Economy: A State-by-State Review

A report by the Council of State Governments and Elsevier

Elsevier Analytical Services and the Council of State Governments partnered on this report to examine the comparative research strengths of US states. The report outlines a process by which states can identify and showcase their strengths and provides case studies for North Carolina, New York, and Arkansas as examples of the type of information is available for all states.

To generate this report, Elsevier's Analytical Services identified and aggregated research performance data from 2004-2013 for all institutions in each state.

The report draws on a variety of data sources including Scopus, usage metrics from ScienceDirect R&D expenditure and related data from the National Science Foundation’s Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and patent information from the US Patent and Trademark Office and the LexisNexis patent database.

The core findings

  1. The production of research is not balanced in the US, but many states produce highly-cited research.
    • The combined absolute number of research publications of the top five states (California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Maryland) comprises more than 50% of the total US output.

    • The US as a whole produces research that is cited over 49% more than the world average.

    • See: Figure 1: Field-Weighted Citation Impact for U.S. States:

      Figure 1: Field-Weighted Citation Impact for U.S. States
      Figure 1: The map shows the field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) of research by US states, 2004-2013. The world average is set to 1.0, and states with darker colors produced research that received relatively more citations. On the whole, research from all states received relatively more citations than the world average, with that from Massachusetts and Washington receiving more than twice as many citations than the world average (hence their FWCI being greater than 2).

  2. Using a variety of research performance metrics, each state can identify its relative comparative research strengths.
    • For example, North Carolina specializes in medicine. 28.7% of all US output was in the field of medicine, but an even higher percentage (38.6%) of North Carolina’s output was in that field. Moreover, North Carolina’s research in medicine is cited 36% more than the US average and ranked 7th among all states in terms of citation impact.
    • See: Figure 2: Field-Weighted Citation Impact Versus Relative Volume (NC):

      Figure 2: Field-Weighted Citation Impact Versus Relative Volume (NC)
      Figure 2: Field-Weighted Citation Impact Versus Relative Volume (NC)

  3. Research requires substantial investments but the payoffs – driving innovation and future economic growth- are worth it.
    • The US as a whole produces 6.5 publications per million $ USD of research and development expenditures.
    • Research plays a key role in driving innovation, and one proxy measure of that is how much academic research is cited in industry patents. For example, New York’s research in computer science from 2004-2012 was cited in 1,026 patents, comprising 23.5% of all patent citations in that field.
    • Although the number of patents granted is concentrated in a few states (25.1% of all patents granted to US inventors are from California), the map below shows that patent citations are much more geographically distributed.
    • See: Figure 3: Ratio of national patent citation share to publication share:

      Figure 3: Ratio of national patent citation share to publication share
      Figure 3: The map shows the ratio of national patent citation share to national publication share across all states for 2004-2012. States with darker colors indicate that those states’ research outputs were cited more often in patents than their research volume would otherwise suggest.

Access Products

Get more information