Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar
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Who Stands on the Shoulders of Chinese (Scientific) Giants? Evidence from Chemistry

Claudia Steinwender
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Geneva Graduate Institute, Maison de la paix, Room S5

As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Geneva Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Claudia Steinwender.

This seminar is held jointly with the Geneva Trade and Development Workshop (GTDW).

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Who Stands on the Shoulders of Chinese (Scientific) Giants? Evidence from Chemistry, joint with Shumin Qiu and Pierre Azoulay

Abstract: In recent decades, Chinese researchers have become preeminent contributors to the scientific enterprise, as reflected by the number of publications originating from Chinese research institutions. China’s rise in science has the potential to push forward the global frontier, but mere production of knowledge does not guarantee that others are able to build on it. We ask whether chemistry research originating from China offers broad shoulders for follow-on scientists to stand on. In the raw publication and citation data, Chinese-authored articles receive only half the citations from the US compared to articles from other countries. We show that even after carefully controlling for the quality of Chinese research, Chinese PIs’ articles receive on average 28% fewer citations from US researchers. Our results point to the existence of frictions in the dissemination of Chinese research across borders, even in a domain where Chinese scientists have long excelled. These frictions do not reflect lower actual (or even perceived) quality of Chinese research, and do not appear to be motivated by animus against Chinese researchers. Only Chinese researchers with unusually deep networks in the US can overcome, at least in part, the citation discount.

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