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2013年4月 4日 (木)

日本の科学力―研究の場を育てる意味

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 1
EDITORIAL: Japan losing competitiveness in science sector
日本の科学力―研究の場を育てる意味

Since science represents humanity's collective intelligence, it has no national borders. As such, it does quite fine without contributions from researchers in some countries.
 科学に国境はない。どこかの国の研究者が貢献しなくても、人類の集合知としての科学はいっこうに困らない。

But those countries will have to accept the inconvenience of having to part with some of their collective wealth in exchange for importing goods that require high-level scientific knowledge and technology to produce.
 ただ、そんな国でくらす人々は少々困るかもしれない。高度な知識や技術による製品は輸入するしかなくなり、お代として国の富が流れ出す。

With the distance between science and industry shrinking, competition has become severe in the world of science. But Japan appears to be lagging behind, according to the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, which analyzed the databases of science and technology papers published around the world.
 産業との距離が縮み、競争が激しい科学の世界で、日本の地盤沈下を思わせる調査がまとまった。

The institute, affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, found that the volume of papers and monographs, authored or co-authored by scientists at Japanese universities, research organs and private corporations, has not increased much in and after the 2000s.
文部科学省の研究所が科学技術論文のデータベースを分析したところ、2000年代に入って日本の大学や研究機関、企業の研究者が名を連ねる論文の数が伸び悩んでいた。

Globally, the output of science and technology papers and monographs has risen by 48 percent in the last decade. But in Japan, the increase was a paltry 3 percent.
 10年間で全世界が48%も増えたのに日本はわずか3%増だ。

China and South Korea have registered phenomenal growths of 360 percent and 192 percent, respectively. The corresponding figures were 20 to 30 percent for the United States and European nations. In global rankings, Japan tumbled from second place to fifth place, having fallen behind China, Germany and Britain. Japan's share fell from 9.5 percent to 6.6 percent.
 中国の360%増や韓国の192%増はおいても、欧米先進国も20~30%増。日本は国別順位で中国、ドイツ、英国に抜かれ2位から5位に、シェアも9・5%から6・6%に下げた。

Similar trends are seen in the rankings and shares of Japanese papers and monographs that are frequently quoted around the world.
 他の論文での引用が多い注目論文の数やシェアでも同様だ。

One of the reasons for this decline is that Japanese scientists have been slow to participate in international joint studies, whereas their European counterparts have made a point to actively engage in multinational research undertakings. In the case of Chinese scientists, who have become the most frequent co-authors of American scientists, many have studied in the United States and have continued to collaborate with U.S. scientists after returning to China.
 原因の一つは国際共同研究の流れに乗り遅れていることだ。欧州各国は意識的に「多国籍研究」を進めている。米国の共著相手トップに躍り出た中国は、米国留学組が帰国後も共同研究するケースが多い。

Another reason for Japan's decline is its weak ties to "hot" areas of research that are rapidly emerging from increased interdisciplinary pursuits. One such field is so-called complex network science, which spans the disciplines of mathematics, engineering, biochemistry and infectious disease medicine.
 もう一つは、学際・分野融合的な部分で次々に生まれているホットな研究領域へのかかわりが弱いことだ。たとえば、数学や工学、生化学、感染症学などの境界ですすむ「ネットワーク科学」への関与は薄い。

We suspect departmental turfs at Japanese universities are too rigidly defined. It is vital that universities become more open and try to keep abreast of global trends.
 大学の学部や学科の壁が強固すぎるのではないか。内向きの姿勢をあらため、世界の潮流を見失わないことが重要だ。

As for research and development expenditures by university departments around the world, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) statistics and others show that the real growth rate in Japan was 5 percent in the 2000s, compared with 30 to 60 percent in the United States and Europe, a whopping 335 percent in China and 134 percent in South Korea. The numbers correspond almost exactly to the growth in the volume of published papers and monographs.
 くわえて、経済協力開発機構(OECD)の統計などによると、各国の大学部門の研究開発費は00年代、日本が実質5%増だったのに対し、欧米諸国は30~60%増、中国は335%増、韓国は134%増。論文数の伸びとうり二つなのだ。

Also, in the amounts spent on research and development in terms of ratios against gross domestic product, Japan fell behind the United States, Britain and Germany.
 絶対額の水準も、国内総生産(GDP)比でみると、日本は米英独などを下回っている。

Unlike in most developed nations of the world, about half the research and development costs in Japan are borne by household budgets--university students or their families. At private universities, the costs are almost entirely covered by tuition.
 日本の場合、ほかの先進国と違い、研究開発費の約半分を家計が負担している。私立大学では、ほとんどが授業料などでまかなわれているためだ。

The central and local governments invest little on research at universities. At 0.8 percent of GDP including scholarship funds, which is below the OECD average of 1.4 percent, Japan ranks among the lowest in the world. Public investments in universities are growing not only in China and South Korea, but in the United States and Europe as well.
 国や自治体から大学への投資は少ない。奨学金などを含めてもGDPの0・8%で、OECD平均の1・4%を下回り最低水準だ。中国や韓国はむろん、欧米先進国も大学への投資を充実させている。

Deciding where to position scientific research under the current fiscal restraints is a matter that needs to be seen from a long-term perspective.
 限られた財政のなかに科学力をどう位置づけるか。長い視野で見るべき課題である。

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