Only sufficient economic wealth can produce science with the highest quality. However, there is room for many intervening factors, which can moderate the process of how money invested into research transforms into a bibliometrically measurable outcome. In this paper, based on the latest update of the Essential Science Indicators (ESI), covering the period 2007–2017, we analyze the progress of Estonian science against the background less successful neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania, in the pursuit of scientific excellence. Estonia improved the impact of scientific papers by eleven positions occupying the 17th position in the world-ranking list of countries/territories, sandwiched between France and Israel who both have approximately two times larger DGP per capita to say nothing about 68 and 12 Nobel Prize winners respectively. By the percentage of papers reaching the top-cited category, Estonia occupies the 7th position of the most successful nations. The fact that Estonian papers are cited 30% more frequently than papers recorded by ESI in general is a puzzle because Estonia is spending only about 0.8% of its GDP on the R&D with a dropping tendency during the last three years. Factors that could moderate transformation of the input money into scientific output are discussed.
Aksnes, D. W. (2003) “A macro study of self-citation”. Scientometrics 56, 2, 235–246.
Albarrán, P., J. A. Crespo, I. Ortuño, and J. Ruiz-Castillo (2010) “A comparison of the scientific performance of the U.S. and the European union at the turn of the 21st century”. Scientometrics 85, 1, 329–344. doi:10.1007/s11192-010-0223-7
Allik, J. (2003) “The quality of science in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania after the first decade of independence”. Trames 7, 1, 40–52.
Allik, J. (2008) “Quality of Estonian science estimated through bibliometric indicators (1997-2007)”. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences 57, 255–264.
Allik, J. (2011) “Estonian science estimated through bibliometric indicators”. In J. Engelbrecht, ed. Research in Estonia: present and future, 456-469. Tallinn: Estonian Academy of Sciences.
Allik, J. (2013a) “Factors affecting bibliometric indicators of scientific quality”. Trames 17, 3, 199–214.
Allik, J. (2013b) “Personality psychology in the first decade of the new millennium: a bibliometric portrait”. European Journal of Personality 27, 1, 5–14.
Allik, J. (2015) “Progress in Estonian science”. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences 64, 2, 125–126.
Allik, J. (2017) “Scientific publications: Estonia rises to the top”. In K. Raudvere, ed. Estonian Research 2016, 27–32. Tartu: Estonian Research Council.
Clarivate Analytics (2017) Introducing 2017’s highly cited researchers. Philadelphia: Clarivate Analytics.
Dutton, E., J. t. Nijenhuis, and E. Roivainen (2014) “Solving the puzzle of why Finns have the highest IQ, but one of the lowest number of Nobel prizes in Europe”. Intelligence 46, 192–202.
Estonian Research Council (2017) Estonian Research 2016 (http://www.etag.ee/wp-content/uploads/ 2015/12/TA_teaduskogumik_ENG_veeb.pdf). Tartu: Estonian Research Council.
European Commission (2015) Analysis of bibliometric indicators for European policies 2010–2013. Brussels: Publications Office of the European Union.
Gaskell, A. (2017) “How Estonia became the digital leader of Europe”. Forbes, June 23, 2017.
Hatemi-J, A., A. N. Ajmi, G. El Montasser, R. Inglesi-Lotz, and R. Gupta (2016) “Research output and economic growth in G7 countries: new evidence from asymmetric panel causality testing”. Applied Economics 48, 24, 2301–2308.
Izsvák, Z., Z. Ivics, and L.Mátés, (2006) “Hungary’s ‘reforms’ are threatening basic science”. Nature 443, 394.
Jaffe, K. (2011) “Do countries with lower self-citation rates produce higher impact papers? Or, does humility pay?”. Interciencia 36, 9, 694–698.
Jurajda, S., S. Kozubek, D. Munich, and S. Skoda (2017) “Scientific publication performance in post-communist countries: still lagging far behind”. Scientometrics 112, 1, 315–328.
Karlsson, S. and O. Persson (2012) The Swedish production of highly cited papers. Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet.
King, D. A. (2004) “The scientific impact of nations”. Nature 430, 6997, 311–316. doi:10.1038/ 430311a
Kozak, M., L. Bornmann, and L. Leydesdorff (2015) “How have the Eastern European countries of the former Warsaw Pact developed since 1990? A bibliometric study”. Scientometrics 102, 2, 1101–1117.
Kristapsons, J., H. Martinson, and I. Dagyte (2003) Baltic R&D systems in transitions: experiences and future prospects. Riga: Zinatne.
Leydesdorff, L. and C. Wagner (2009) “Macro-level indicators of the relations between research funding and research output”. Journal of Informetrics 3, 4, 353–362.
Leydesdorff, L., C. S. Wagner, and L. Bornmann (2014) “The European Union, China, and the United States in the top-1% and top-10% layers of most-frequently cited publications: competition and collaborations”. Journal of Informetrics 8, 3, 606-617.
Martinson, H. (2015) Isolatsioonist akadeemilisse kapitalismi: Eesti Teadusfond 1989–2011. [From isolation to academic capitalism: Estonian Science Foundation 1898–2011.] Tallinn: Eesti Teadusagentuur.
Moed, H. F. (2005) Citation analysis in research evaluation. Dordrecht: Springer.
Must, Ü. (2006) “‘New’ countries in Europe – research, development and innovation strategies vs bibliometric data”. Scientometrics 66, 2, 241–248.
Ntuli, H., R. Inglesi-Lotz, T. Y. Chang, and A. Pouris (2015) “Does research output cause economic growth or vice versa? Evidence from 34 OECD countries”. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 66, 8, 1709–1716.
Okubo, Y. (1997) Bibliometric indicators and analysis of research systems: methods and examples. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Pajic, D. (2015) “Globalization of the social sciences in Eastern Europe: genuine breakthrough or a slippery slope of the research evaluation practice?”. Scientometrics 102, 3, 2131–2150.
Pullmann, H., J. Allik, and R. Lynn (2004) “The growth of IQ among Estonian schoolchildren from ages 7 to 19”. Journal of Biosocial Science 36, 6, 735–740.
Solarin, S. A. and Y. Y. Yen (2016) “A global analysis of the impact of research output on economic growth”. Scientometrics 108, 2, 855–874.
Thijs, B. and W. Glanzel (2006) “The influence of author self-citations on bibliometric meso-indicators. The case of European universities”. Scientometrics 66, 1, 71–80.
van Leeuwen, T. N. and H. F. Moed (2012) “Funding decisions, peer review, and scientific excellence in physical sciences, chemistry, and geosciences”. Research Evaluation 21, 3, 189–198.
van Leeuwen, T. N., M. S. Visser, H. F. Moed, T. J. Nederhof, and A. F. J. van Raan (2003) “Holy Grail of science policy: exploring and combining bibliometric tools in search of scientific excellence”. Scientometrics 57, 2, 257–280.
Vassil, K. (2018) “Eesti teaduse nutune külg: aparatuuri ja betooni meil on, kuid sente lugev valitsus ajab noorteadlased vägisi välismaale”. [A tearful side of Estonian science: we have equpment and concrete but stingy government forces young scientist to go abroad.] Postimees, March 4, 2018.
Vinkler, P. (2008) “Correlation between the structure of scientific research, scientometric indicators and GDP in EU and non-EU countries”. Scientometrics 74, 2, 237–254.
Vinkler, P. (2018) “Structure of the scientific research and science policy”. Scientometrics 114, 2, 737–756.
Wagner, C. S. and K. Jonkers (2017) “Open countries have strong science”. Nature 550, 7674, 32–33.