The latest Thomson ISI science data shows that China has leaped to second-spot worldwide in academic science, as measured by papers produced. The U.S. still leads the way, at 340,000 publications per year (not shown), but China could surpass U.S. production within five years at current rates of relative growth.
Of course, paper production is only one measure. Citations matter at least as much, and that isn’t captured here. Nevertheless, it is striking stuff