Israel's in fourth in global scientific activity, ranking just behind Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark for the number of scientific publications per citizen, according to a report presented at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan on Monday.
Based on figures from 2005, the report, which was compiled by the Council for Higher Education, also shows that in that year alone, Israeli scientists and researchers published 6,309 essays and articles in foreign scientific journals. According to those figures, nearly 1 percent (.089%) of all scientific publications in 2005 came from Israel.
While impressive, that number was a slight drop from previous years. In 1997, for example, 1.03% of all scientific publications came from Israel.
Additionally, citations of Israeli publications by other scientists were extremely high. According to the report, Israel Institute of Technology-Technion professor Avram Hershko, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004, published 148 articles and was cited more than 16,000 times.
Finland, the Netherlands and Canada followed Israel in the report, while the United States placed 12th, and Germany placed 15th. Japan, Britain and Russia also fell behind Israel.
Israel's role in global scientific activity is nearly 10 times the size of its percentage of the world's population, the report shows.
Despite the promising findings, however, the Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee on Monday warned that new research centers around the world could pose a threat to the status of Israeli universities.
According to committee members, the relative drop in Israel's scientific activity from previous years was based on the fast growth rate of research centers in developing countries like China and India, while the number of scientists at Israeli universities is dwindling due to the brain drain, the emigration of skilled academics from the country to higher-paying jobs abroad.