- Increase Canada's ranking for Average Relative Citation (ARC) in natural sciences, engineering, and life sciences to the top 10 of OECD countries by 2025
Science and research uncover solutions to societal challenges from climate change to demographic shifts to low economic growth. Research spurs innovation through discovery and helps to build Canada's pipeline of talent. A strong science enterprise benefits present and future generations of Canadians. Canada produces high quality research and is at the forefront of strategic fields such as machine learning, but our research performance lags behind in other areas.
Canada's existing research strengths have not translated into sufficient applied research, technology, or innovation outcomes. Investment in fundamental science has declined over the past decade and aging science infrastructure across the country has constrained some areas of research. The Government engaged leaders from the research community to conduct the Fundamental Science Review and, in the response to the review's findings, the Government made historic investments in fundamental research, science and infrastructure. Budget 2018 allocated $4 billion to support the work of researchers and state-of the-art tools and facilities. Budget 2018 also announced the largest-ever increase in funding for fundamental research through Canada's granting councils—almost $1.7 billion over five years.
Canada accounted over 3% of the world's top 10% of most-cited scientific publications in 2016, placing Canada 7th amongst OECD's economies with the largest volume of top-cited scientific publications, (Scopus Custom Data, 2017). Canada is the fourth largest producer of most-cited scientific documents on machine learning after the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. According to Element AI, Canada has the third largest number of AI experts in the world – close to 1,500 PhD-educated researchers. Canada also accounts for 2% of all machine-learning patents issued globally, the 6th most of any country. These results are indicative of Canada's scientific excellence.
Looking at how frequently a country produces highly cited, internationally co-authored publications is another measure of scientific excellence. Publications with international collaboration generally appear in the most prestigious journals and are cited more frequently. According to the Council of Canadian Academies, a high rate of international collaboration signals research competitiveness. Joint analysis of excellence and leading authorship provide further insight into the source of a country's top-cited publications, as many are underpinned by international collaborations. Canada ranks in the top 20 in the OECD of top 10% most cited publications that are part of international collaboration, led by either a domestic or a foreign author. (Figure 9.1).
The impact of Canada's research continues to improve relative to the world average. Average Relative Citation (ARC) factor measures the impact of publications produced at Canadian institutions by the frequency of citations. Canada's ARC factor in natural sciences, engineering, and life sciences increased from 1.35 in 2014 to 1.42 in 2017 (OST, 2018) (Figure 9.2). However, ARC scores in those same fields also increased in most other advanced economies over the period, leaving Canada tied for 15th in the OECD rankings.