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Climate change is a bigger field of research in Norway than in any other country

Even so, Norwegian researchers only account for two per cent of the world’s total research on climate change. This two per cent however has had a great impact on further research, according to a new report.

Research on climate change has considerable standing in Norway.

In 2019, Norwegian researchers contributed to more than 700 studies on climate change - more than twice as many as ten years ago.

This is according to figures recently presented by NIFU-researcher Dag W. Aksnes, during the launch of an annual overview of research and innovation in Norway, called Indikatorrapporten.

This years report shows that Norway is the country in the world that scores the highest when it comes to specialization within research on climate change.

In other words – a lot of researchers in Norway work on this particular topic.

“All countries have their characteristics when it comes to research. One such characteristic of Norway’s research profile is that there is a lot of research on climate”, says Aksnes.

He believes that part of the reason is that this type of research has had considerable financial backing during the last few years.

Small global contribution

But even if many Norwegian researchers work on climate change, the total contribution to the field on a global scale is not very big.

In 2019, Norwegian researchers published 1,56 per cent of all the research on climate change in the world.

The country that contributed the most to this field of research was the USA.

“Norway is obviously a very small contributor in any field of research. Still, research is a global effort where everybody has to do their part”, says Aksnes.

With its 5,3 million inhabitants, Norway is a small country in the world in virtually any comparison.

But compared to other fields of research, the Norwegian contribution to climate change research is big. Norwegian researchers only counted for 0,65 per cent of the research in all other fields.

Norwegian research on climate change has doubled since 2011. The blue line shows number of studies published on the topic.

A lot of citations

Another measure where Norwegian research on climate change does fairly well, is when we look at citations – meaning how many times other studies in the field cite a piece of work.

This is a measure which is often thought to say something about the quality of the research.

The US also has the most citations, in total. But there are other ways of measuring. Norway being such a small country, it becomes more interesting to look at the average number of citations per published study.

And when we do this, Norway comes in sixth in the world.

“This tells us that Norwegian research on climate change has had a big influence on further research”, says Aksnes.

When measuring average citations, the US comes in at 14th place, while Austria comes out on top of the ranking.

Average number of citations from 2015-2017. The top five countries are Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. Norway comes in 6th.

International collaborations makes counting difficult

The NIFU-researcher admits that it wasn’t necessarily obvious how they should count what the different countries have contributed to within research on climate change.

“It’s difficult to interpret which country stands for which contribution when there is so much international collaboration going on”, says Aksnes.

Still they have tried to take this into account when making their calculations, he says.

Translated by: Ida Irene Bergstrøm


Read the Norwegian version of this article on forskning.no

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