Clive Cookson reports that there's been a "64-fold increase in [Chinese] peer-reviewed scientific papers since 1981": China scientists lead world in research growth. Projecting ahead:
Jonathan Adams, research evaluation director at Thomson Reuters, said China’s “awe-inspiring” growth had put it in second place to the US – and if it continues on its trajectory it will be the largest producer of scientific knowledge by 2020.
Chinese research in chemistry and materials science is especially strong.
Although its quality remains mixed, Chinese research has also become more collaborative, with almost 9 per cent of papers originating in China having at least one US-based co-author.
Meanwhile the volume of research coming out of India and, especially, Brazil has been growing as well.
Brazil stands out in health, life sciences, agriculture and environmental research. It is a world leader in using biofuels in auto and aero engines.
Russia has been a disaster:
...on the eve of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, Russia was a scientific superpower, carrying out more research than China, India and Brazil combined. Since then it has been left behind.... Russia produced fewer research papers than Brazil or India in 2008.
This means new methods and products. And what the Chinese and Brazilians can figure out, we can eventually imitate. Knowledge capital goods are non-rival; one person's use of an idea doesn't preclude other persons from using the same idea at the same time. Unlike a road grader. Most of the the world's growth in per capita income is attributable to technological change.