The end of the "European Paradox" Articles uri icon



publication date

  • October 2012

start page

  • 453

end page

  • 464


  • 1


  • 95

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0138-9130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1588-2861


  • This paper evaluates the European Paradox according to which Europe plays aleading world role in terms of scientific excellence, measured in terms of the number ofpublications, but lacks the entrepreneurial capacity of the US to transform this excellentperformance into innovation, growth, and jobs. Citation distributions for the US, theEuropean Union (EU), and the Rest of the World are evaluated using a pair of high- andlow-impact indicators, as well as the mean citation rate (MCR). The dataset consists of 3.6million articles published in 1998&-2002 with a common 5-year citation window. Theanalysis is carried at a low aggregation level, namely, the 219 sub-fields identified with theWeb of Science categories distinguished by Thomson Scientific. The problems posed byinternational co-authorship and the multiple assignments of articles to sub-fields are solvedfollowing a multiplicative strategy. We find that, although the EU has more publicationsthan the US in 113 out of 219 sub-fields, the US is ahead of the EU in 189 sub-fields interms of the high-impact indicator, and in 163 sub-fields in terms of the low-impactindicator. Finally, we verify that using the high-impact indicator the US/EU gap is usuallygreater than when using the MCR


  • Economics


  • citation impact; research performance; us/european union gap; high- and low-impact indicators; mean citation rate