Industrial labs held in high regard

October 7, 2005

Anyone working in a university must occasionally dream of all the research he or she might do were it not for the students.

These tables show how productive the world's top industrial and government laboratories are in science and engineering. They were compiled by Evidence Ltd from the same Essential Science Indicators database used in our main table.

The tables show that the best non-university researchers generate papers as heavily cited as any academic, especially bearing in mind the much lower number of citations in engineering and IT than in science.

The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, sometimes regarded as a support facility for other researchers, shows that it is also a formidable producer of original research in its own right.

However, the data also suggest that many of the world's most innovative industrial scientists and technologists publish few papers in journals, perhaps using patents as their preferred method.

Microsoft, Nokia, Boeing and Apple are absent from a list dominated by older companies such as AT&T and IBM of the US, and by national laboratories in the US, Germany and France often with an emphasis on nuclear power.

There is also a notable overlap between the lists, with Cern, the European nuclear research laboratory, IBM and the US national laboratories showing strength in both subject areas.

IBM is the winner in science and is one of the few private-sector firms whose scientists have won Nobel prizes.

  Tables available in Statistics section:  

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