Do you have a lot of time on your hands? And, do you also have a lot of interest in the state of science everywhere (and the US in particular)? If you answered yes to both the questions, [drumroll, please] here is a great resource for you: the US National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators - 2006.
Indicators 2006 is a super-massive compendium of statistical information on all kinds of things, starting from elementary education and going all the way up to academic and industrial R&D. This is the kind of detailed statistics that I would like our own country to collect, make available to scholars, and base its policies on. Sadly, India seems to lack timely and reliable statistics on something far more important: poverty.
Admittedly, the data in Indicators 2006 are US centric, and S&E centric. However, there is a lot of stuff there that are relevant for other countries as well. One can spend a lot of time there, and I certainly intend to spend sometime looking at data pertaining to India. If you are into China vs. India story (I am not), you will also find a lot here that you can use to self-flagellate with.
Let me look at just a few pieces of data that this blog has been dealing with:
- From this page: The number of papers in S&E from India grew from 8,882 in 1988 to 12,774 in 2003 -- an increase of 43 percent in 15 years. Let's compare these figures for other countries (including China!): All Countries (466,419 to 698,726, up 49 %), US (177,662 to 211,233, up 19%), EU-15 (134,551 to 220,002, up 64 %), Japan (34,435 to 60,067, up 76 %), S. Korea (776 to 13,746, up 17 times), Taiwan (1,414 to 9,270, up up 6.7 times) and China (7,214 to 29,186, up 4 times).
- From this page: The number of undergraduate students in the US universities went up from 5,463 in 1987 to 13,531 in 2004. Compare them with the figures for all (foreign) locations: nearly 200,000 in 1987, and 255,000 in 2004. Indian undergrads constituted 2.7 percent of all foreign students in 1987, while this figure went up to 5.3 % in 2004.
- From this page: The number of graduate students in the US universities went up from 15,547 in 1987 to 63,013 in 2004. This four-fold growth in 17 years also took India from the third rank (behind Taiwan and China) in 1987 to the first rank in 2004. In any case, the comparable figures for all (foreign) locations are: nearly 156,000 in 1987, and 279,000 in 2004. The Indian share of all foreign graduate students went up from nearly 10 % to over 22% during this 17 year period.
In a post last October, we saw that a lot of students (estimated to be over 120,000 last year) studying in universities abroad. The US alone accounts for nearly 76,000 (in 2004, and probably considerably more in 2005) of them.