SCImago Iber Insights 2023
With the launch of the new SCImago Iber and offering the possibility of consulting the different rankings online, SCImago Iber Insights was also born. This section aims to analyze the performance of different institutions, regions and countries based on the indicators offered by the ranking, presenting the main findings of each edition and opening the discussion on the results found. It is an example of its multiple functionalities and the richness of the information it contains.
In the same way, and taking into account that SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) and SCImago Iber are based on the same indicators and measurement factors, a comparative analysis of the performance of the different countries and institutions in each of the rankings is carried out in diverse sections.On this occasion the 2023 edition is presented, which includes institutions from all sectors that have published at least one document in Scopus indexed journals in the period 2017-2021 (for further details on the inclusion criteria and methodology of SCImago Iber please consult the help documentation)
What makes SCImago Iber different?
- SCImago Iber contains information on 16 indicators that reflect the scientific activity in 3 different areas: research, innovation and societal impact that constitute a comprehensive overview at the performance of the research activity of an institution, a region or a country, observing the capacity of scientific output, its link with the productive sector and its dissemination and strengthening through good practices in web-based scientific communication.
- The 5-year time window with the possibility of accessing information retrospectively allows analyzing the evolution over time of countries, regions and institutions since 2003, also facilitating the comparison between units at different levels of analysis. In particular, the information on the performance of the regions in each country offers new perspectives for the analysis of indicators at the national level.
- SCImago Iber is a particularly useful tool for those institutions with a low output capacity or that are starting their research activities, taking into account that the output threshold considered is 1 document in the last 5 years.
Ibero-America by sectors
Within the framework of the methodology defined for SCImago Iber, the 2023 edition offers information on 7.563 institutions from the 22 Ibero-American countries, reflecting the scientific activity of the region in 3 different areas: research, innovation and societal impact, that is, the capacity of scientific output, its link with the productive sector and its dissemination and strengthening through good practices in web-based scientific communication.
Between 2017 and 2021, the Ibero-American countries have contributed 9% of the total world output, with a total of 1.452.636 of documents published. In terms of number of institutions, the Health and Universities sectors represent together more than 60% of the organizations in the region (2.680 and 1.946 respectively), followed by the Government (17.22%), Non-profit (11.31%) and Companies (10.31%) sectors. In turn, according to the capacity of publication, the two predominant sectors generate nearly 80% of the documents but, in this case, it is the researchers of the Universities sector who publish more than 60% of the scientific output at the regional level.
In this context, only 14% of the institutions (1.053) develop research continuously as a result of long-range projects, with an output capacity that exceeds 100 documents per year, being 2021 the last year considered of the five-year period analyzed (institutions present in the SIR). The remaining 86% have a more limited capacity to publish research results, and there is a large number of organizations that publish sporadically or as a result of one-off projects. This situation is more evident in the Companies and Non-profit sectors.
Ibero-America by country
According to the publication of research results in scientific journals, the Ibero-American countries are divided into 3 large groups. The great knowledge producers in the region are located in the first group: Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico, whose scientific output exceeds 100,000 documents published in the period 2017-2021, reaching even around 500.000 documents in the first two cases. At the same time, a high concentration of capacities is observed in a small percentage of institutions in Mexico, where less than 10% of the organizations have published more than 100 papers in 2021. In the case of Portugal, institutions with high output capacity amount to 28%, followed by Brazil with 23% and finally Spain with 17%.
In the second group, countries with the capacity to publish between 10.000 and 100.000 documents in the period analyzed, we find Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Cuba. Once again the group is subdivided and, while in the first 3 cases the scientific output is around 80.000 documents, in the last 3 the published documents remain below 30.000. In all cases, more than 10% of the institutions manage to publish more than 100 papers in the last year of the five-year period, with the exception of Cuba, where the institutions with high output capacity represent only 2% of the national total.
The third group is made up of countries with less than 10.000 documents published in the five-year period: Uruguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador and Andorra. Despite the fact that the output capacity is very limited, the total number of papers published by Uruguayan researchers amounts to 9.862 in contrast to the 144 documents published by Andorran institutions, and in no case the number of institutions present in the SIR is greater than 5.
Ibero-America beyond its output capacity
Regarding the performance of the impact and collaboration indicators in the region, the high level of international collaboration in the smallest countries is striking, observing that it often exceeds 85% of the total output and that its capacity to generate networks contributes to improve the impact of the national output, and thus establishing collaborative relationships that add value to research processes. Brazil and Mexico, the two main Latin-American countries, are far from the performance of Spain and Portugal, with 40% of scientific output in international collaboration and a normalized impact that is 10% away from the world citation average. Cuba and Venezuela present the lowest expected and observed impact in the region, with more than 55% of scientific output in international collaboration.
Additionally, the high percentage of leadership observed in most of the countries of the region contrasts with the percentage of documents led with excellence. In this case, no Ibero-American country achieves that more than 10% of its led scientific output is also within the 10% of the most cited documents in their subject category.
Regarding the publication of documents in Open Access, the percentage of documents published under this modality exceeds 50% of the total national output in all the countries of the region. According to SCImago Journal and Country Rank, by 2021, 80% of the Ibero-American Scopus indexed journals are Open Access, therefore, the scientific output in national journals contributes significantly to the increase of the open access output.
Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela are the countries with the highest percentage of papers published in national journals (33%, 24% and 22% respectively), with special attention to Cuba and Venezuela, where there is evidence of a high concentration of documents in a small number of journals (30% and 37% respectively). In general, in the Latin-American countries, although the scientific output in national journals contributes to the volume increase of the published documents and of the Open Access output, it does not have the same effect on the impact of the publications. The countries with the highest percentage of papers published in national journals also have the lowest normalized impacts in the region.
According to the publication language, the Ibero-American researchers have published more than 1.000.000 documents in English, which represents more than 80% of the region's output, with a normalized impact that exceeds the world citation average by 8%. Spanish and Portuguese are in second and third place with 10.9% and 4.9% of the total regional output but with impact indicators that are considerably far from the world citation average. At the same time, on average, the percentage of documents published in open access reaches 50% of the total documents published in English, about 70% of the documents published in Spanish, and more than 75% of the publications in Portuguese. However, only the documents published in English achieve good results in terms of impact.
By country, it is observed that the output in English represents less than 70% only in Cuba and Venezuela, being also the countries with the highest percentage of documents published in Spanish (40% and 30% respectively) and, in terms of impact, only the documents published in English by Spain, Portugal and Andorra manage to rank above the world average. The papers published in Portuguese represent less than 1% of the national output except in Brazil and Portugal (12% and 4% respectively), with an average impact that is more than 75% away from the world average. Additionally, according to the percentage of international collaboration in 20 of the 22 Ibero-American countries, more than 50% of the output in English has been carried out in collaboration with researchers from other countries, unlike the output in Spanish, where only in 5 of the 22 countries analyzed the percentage of documents co-authored with foreign peers exceed 50% of the documents published in this language.
Regarding the SciELO output, more than 10% of the Ibero-American output in Scopus is present in the diverse SciELO collections, with indicators of impact and excellence well below the expected values and with a percentage of international collaboration of less than 10%. Brazil is, by far, the country with the greatest presence in this digital library with more than 80.000 documents published between 2017 and 2021, although it represents less than 20% of the national output and even if it does not manage to approach the world average in terms of impact, it is the one that shows the best performance (0.38) within the countries of the region. In the case of Cuba, the percentage of papers published in SciELO journals represent about 40% of the total number of documents published in the country (4.089 documents), with the lowest normalized impact among the countries in the sample (0.1) and an international collaboration percentage of 8%.
What about innovation in Ibero-America?
Concerning innovation, the countries with greater capacity to generate scientific output also achieve a greater number of documents cited in patents (Innovative Knowledge) and a greater number of patent applications. Spain and Brazil exceed 5.000 applications between 2017 and 2021, while Mexico and Portugal remain at around 1.200, closely followed by Chile and Colombia with more than 800 applications in the same period. In the case of the European countries, the percentage of documents cited in patent exceeds 1% of the total citable output in this publication type, compared to the Latino-American countries where only Uruguay achieves a similar performance.
And how does Ibero-America perform by subject areas?
In the five-year period 2017-2021, Medicine is the only area that represents more than 20% of the region's output (29.5%), followed by Engineering (13.8%) and Agricultural and Biological Sciences (13.4%). In the first two cases, the normalized impact exceeds the world average with a percentage of documents in international collaboration that revolves around 40%. In the case of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, despite having a considerably higher expected impact than the other two areas analyzed and a similar level of international collaboration, its results compared to the observed impact fail to exceed the world citation average.
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Neuroscience and Environmental Science present the best performance in terms of impact, with a level of international collaboration close to 50%. In turn, _Physics and Astronomy and_Earth and Planetary Sciences also exceed the world citation average by more than 6%, being the subject areas with the highest percentage of documents co-authored with foreign researchers (55% and 58% respectively).
An assessment of the region 2017-2021
In the region, the output capacity falls mainly on the Universities sector, although the Government and Health sectors have a great relevance in terms of the number of institutions that have published at least one document. In turn, only 14% of the organizations present in SCImago Iber are simultaneously present in the SIR, which indicates a high percentage of institutions at the Ibero-American level with a limited output capacity.
At the national level, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Portugal are consolidated as the great knowledge producers in the region, but only the European countries achieve good results in terms of Impact and Excellence, in comparison with the Latin-American countries that remain below the expected values. At the same time, the 22 countries of the region have high leadership rates but with a low recognition, so that the output led with excellence remains below 10% in all cases.
Finally, it is observed that in all countries there is a percentage of documents in Open Access greater than 50% mostly influenced by the publication of documents in national journals, without evidence of a direct contribution to increasing the impact of the national output. In fact, the countries with the highest percentage of documents published in national journals also present the lowest normalized impacts in the region.