Feb 7, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Amid the onslaught of international competition from powerhouses like the US, China produces the world's most scientific research.

According to the US National Science Foundation (NSF), for the first time in history, China has overtaken the US in the number of scientific publications.

In an article in Scientific American, Maria Zuber, a geophysicist at MIT said, "The US continues to be the global leader in science and technology, but the world is changing. She argues that while other nations, like China, increase their output, the US's relative share of activity is declining. She added, "We can't be asleep at the wheel."

In raw numbers, China published 426,000 studies in 2016, compared to the US's 409,000. India raced ahead of Japan.

The report also looked at the largest number of citations. Sweden and Switzerland took the first two spots, with the US taking third place. The EU placed fourth, and China came in fifth. The report states that the US continues to produce the largest number of doctoral students in science and technology.

In terms of budget, the US spent the most money, at $500 billion in R&D in 2016. China came in second with $400 billion in R&D spending, which is more than what they've spent in the past.

In the Scientific American article, Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Washington D.C.'s Brookings Institution said, that these trends should raise some concern in the US research community. He pointed out that the US continues to limit itself with its underrepresentation of women and minorities.

He said, "A nation's capacity is one of the main drivers of productivity growth and so prosperity." He added that this latest report offers "a useful reminder of why we care about these indicators in the first place."

Learn more about studying in the US and China.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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