Box 1: Brazilian Science in Context

Brazil is a scientifically small country, performing much less than 1% of the scientific research in the world, and this attracts much less that 1% of the citations in subsequent literature. No Brazilian scientist was among the nearly three thousands mentioned as principal contributors or significant influentials in a survey of scientists elsewhere. Brazilian research amounted to a little less than half of the research performed in the rest of Latin America and about a third of that performed in Israel where scientific performance was high as indicated by the rather frequent mentioning of Israelis as great contributors and influentials. In economy and population, Brazil is roughly half the size of the rest of Latin America, as in science. But Brazil is a whole order of magnitude larger than Israel in terms of the economy and even more in terms of population and yet far less research is performed in Brazil than in Israel. This shows that scientific performance in a country is not a reflection of the size of the country in terms of population or economy (there is only a very weak correlation with population and a weak correlation with the economy). These differences in scientific performance seem shaped by differences in institutionalization of science.

Thomas Schott, 1993.