4.2.1. Scientific specialisation

Until recently, there were no international databases of publications with free or partly free access. As a result, the detailed data on publications in the Basque Country put together by Ikerbasque did not make it possible to analyse its specialisation with regard to the rest of the regions or the European countries. In order to conduct this analysis, Orkestra has built a regional database of university publications based on the publication data provided by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University.

Although there are some limitations to this database (it only considers ‘core publications’ indexed by the Web of Sciences (WoS) and only includes publications from universities or institutions affiliated with them that have had more than 100 indexed by the WoS during the 2013–2016 period), it includes a high percentage of publications from the Basque Country which may be representative of the territory’s scientific profile.

Although it is still lower than other territories, the number of publications per thousand inhabitants in the Basque Country has developed very favourably in the last period

Before we begin our analysis of specialisation, Table 9 shows the trend in terms of number of publications. We can see that although the number of publications per thousand inhabitants in the Basque Country (1.7) is still lower than in Spain as a whole, Germany and the EU-28, the trend has been very positive, especially in the most recent period.

Table 9. Core university publications indexed by the Web of Science.
Table 9.</a> Core university publications indexed by the Web of Science.
Source: CWTS Leiden and Eurostat. Compiled by authors.
NB: The publications are recorded using the fractional method, dividing the share between colleagues from different territories.

Scientific production in the Basque Country shows great specialisation in Physical Sciences and Engineering and great subspecialisation in Biomedicine and Health

As regards specialisation, the values in Table 10 show that the Basque Country’s scientific production has a significant specialisation in physical sciences and engineering, and in contrast, an underspecialisation in biomedicine and health. Comparatively, the Basque Country also appears to be somewhat specialised in mathematics and computer science, and to a lesser extent, in social sciences. The Basque Country’s scientific specialisation profile has smoothed off somewhat, but remains much more pronounced than that of other territories, probably due to size differences.

Table 10. Percentage distribution and indexes of territorial specialisation of the core university publications indexed by the Web of Sciences, by scientific field.
Tabla 10 Distribución porcentual e índices de especialización territorial de las publicaciones core universitarias indexadas por la Web of Sciences, por dominios científicos
Source: CWTS Leiden and Eurostat. Compiled by authors.
  1. The Basque Country’s ranking is affected by the fact that it does not include either non-university actors, which produce a significant number of publications, or private universities. Given that these organisations specialise in different fields, this fact also affects the resulting scientific specialisation..