The research exploits a newly created datasets offering several detailed bibliometric data and indicators on 251 subject categories for a large sample of universities in Europe, North America and Asia. In particular, it addresses the controversial issue of the distance between Europe and USA in research excellence (so called “transatlantic gap”). By building up indicators of objective excellence (top 10% worldwide in publications and citations) and subjective excellence (top 10% in the distribution of share of top journals out of total production at university level), it is shown that European universities fail to achieve objective measures of global excellence, while being competitive only in few fields. The policy implications of this state of affairs are discussed.






The research has shown that European universities, despite their history and overall scientific production, fail to compete in both quality and volume faced with increasing competition at the top. We also show that in addition to the competition from the USA, there is also the competition from follower countries in Asia. Our results shows a discomforting truth: Asian universities have already outpaced European ones in many fields. Here Europe lags behind not only USA and Canada, but also behind Asian countries. In the top tier of world research excellence Asia is not challenging Europe, but has already overtaken Europe. While our investigation started with the issue of transatlantic gap, we found evidence of a rising Asian gap.



P Haddawy, Saeed-Ul Hassan, IB Lee, A Craig, Uncovering Fine-Grained Research Excellence: The Global Research Benchmarking System,Journal of Informatics, (in press)

Bonaccorsi A, Haddawy P, Saeed-Ul Hassan ,  “The solitude of stars. An analysis of the distributed excellence model of European universities”, Journal of Informetrics, (in press)

Bonaccorsi A, Haddawy P, Saeed-Ul Hassan (2016),  “Explaining the transatlantic gap in research excellence”, Scientometrics, DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2180-2, (in press)




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