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The Survey of Trends in Scientific Research in Japan, which was funded by a grant-in-aid for scientific research in fiscal 1997, took the form of a questionnaire survey of researchers working at the forefront of scientific research as research team leaders or members of screening panels for grants-in-aid for scientific research. The survey focused on the level of research in Japan.
Five hundred Japanese researchers were asked to compare the level of research in Japan with standards in European and North American countries using a five-point evaluation scale. As shown in Figure 4-3 , a high percentage of respondents considered the level of research in Japan to be "the same as in Europe and North America" (32%) or "fairly high"(30%), while 18% thought the level was "high." Overall, the results indicate that more people have come to feel that research in Japanese universities and other institutions has reached a high level by international standards.
The same results are analyzed by research field in Figure 4-4 . A high percentage of researchers (those who chose responses 3-5) believe that in the natural sciences, levels of research in Japan are now equal to or higher than in the West, especially in science, engineering, and agriculture. The fields in which a high percentage of respondents thought that the standard of research in Japan was relatively low were the humanities and social sciences, and medicine.
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