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Overall research activity in individual countries or regions can be evaluated quantitatively by calculating national totals of papers published in scientific journals and citations from those papers (the number of times published papers are quoted by other researchers). Total numbers of scientific papers indicate the scale of research in each country and allow international comparisons. In Section 1 below, "Research Levels in Terms of Numbers of Scientific Papers," this method is used to measure the quantitative level of research in Japan.
The value of scientific papers is assessed in terms of the number of citations in other papers. Of course, individual citations do not necessarily affirm the value of a paper, since some may be critical or willfully designed merely to boost the number achieved. In general, however, research standards in individual countries can be compared by reckoning numbers of citations from scientific papers. In Section 2, "Research Levels in Terms of Citations from Scientific Papers," numbers of citations are used as an indicator of research quality.
In addition to these objective indicators, subjective evaluations by researchers themselves can also be used to indicate the level of research. In Section 3, "Researchers' Perceptions of the Level of Research," the situation in Japan is analyzed on the basis of results from a questionnaire survey of researchers.
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