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Australian science underperforming, says Chubb

Chief scientist Ian Chubb is leading an effort to boost research performance after publishing a paper comparing Australia with other global research heavyweights.

The paper, published on 15 February, is a comparison between Australia and 23 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, based on the volume and citation rate of scientific publications.

According to the paper, Australia does not outperform countries with a similar embedded scientific culture such as Canada and the US and countries of western Europe and Scandinavia.

“We should compare ourselves with the best in the world. We should not compare ourselves with the rest of the world,” Chubb said.

While the citation rates of 30 per cent of Australian papers are above the European average, more than half are below world average.

“Achieving performance above world average may not be sufficient if our partners also outperform the world average by a greater margin,” he said.

Australia ranks 11th in the world on this basis. The US scores 50 per cent above the European average and Asia 10 per cent.