To develop and recommend effective strategy, it is important to understand the international position of Japan by comparing its capacity of science and technology (S&T) and trends in research and development (R&D) with those abroad. It is also necessary to pay attention to emerging and new technologies in order to accurately grasp the trends of R&D in the future. Therefore, the Center for Research and Development Strategy (CRDS) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), has conducted international comparisons of S&T since 2008, and has published its results. This June, it published the 2011 edition which summarized the survey results up to March, 2011. The survey, which compared a total of 252 sub-fields in five advanced S&T areas, used the opinions of Japanese experts.
There are two indicators generally used to understand the current status of S&T in the leading countries from a macro perspective; one is the analysis of scientific research papers and the other is the analysis of patents. It is doubtful though that these alone provide the complete picture about current S&T status of the leading countries. Therefore, our attention was drawn to the above international comparison surveys conducted by the CRDS, considering that this data could be used with some further refinement to help assess the S&T capability of various countries from a macro perspective. This report is based on such a perception of problems.
Our approach in this paper may seem elementary. We feel, however, that we were able to compare the S&T capability and trends of different countries. On the other hand, we have also noted problems in the international comparison survey itself of the CRDS, and we found fundamental problems in analyzing this data from a macro perspective. We think it will be important to give due consideration to these problems and conduct more refined research.