How “scientific” countries are, relative to each other? The perceptions and stereotypes may vary widely, but modern scientific databases allow for quantitative comparisons. One such database is Scopus, which includes over 22,000 active scientific, peer-reviewed journals. It allows counting scientific articles authored (or co-authored) by scientists working in a particular country, and seeing how cited those articles are.
One way to assess a country’s scientific productivity is to see how many times all the papers by scientists from the country have been cited, totally (the number of Citations - C). Of course, if we want to see how “scientifically productive” a country’s population is on average, these total citation counts have then to be divided by the country’s population P. Just because Brazil produces more scientific papers than Iceland, doesn’t mean an average Brazilian produces more papers than an average Icelander. Thus, we get Cpc: Citations per capita = Citations divided by population = C/P.
To make the numbers more telling, I then normalize the Citations per capita - namely, divide them by the global average value. So, the final indicator - the Normalized Citations per capita - NCpc shows how scientifically productive a country’s population is relative to the world as a whole. For instance, Finland's NCpc of 10.0 shows that an average person living in Finland is ten times more scientifically productive than an average human. Below you can see 198 countries and territories (192 UN members plus Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Palestine, Puerto Rico and Vatican) ordered by their scientific productivity (based on articles published in 2015-2017).