Although it could be the case that U.S. telecommunications companies have decided to restrict presentations of work by their researchers (and developers) at such conferences, the committee considers it much more likely that the statistics on publication by author affiliation shown do reflect a dramatic decline in industry efforts in long-term research.16
A decline in publication by industry authors is also suggested by the decreasing fraction of industry-researcher-authored papers in the IEEE Transactions on Communications A reviewer of this report in draft form noted another possible factor—that companies increasingly “document” their research through patents and participation in standards-setting activities rather than publications.
arguably the most prestigious journal in the communications area. In 1970 approximately 70 percent of the papers in the transactions were authored by industry; in 2003 that percentage had fallen by an order of magnitude to about 7 percent. The reduced contributions from industry have been partially offset by an increase in the number of academic papers—both from U.S. and foreign universities.
It can also be seen that publications from universities outside the United States are greater in number than publications from universities within the United States—albeit by a small amount. In addition, the level of publication from industry outside the United States is now roughly the same as the level from U.S. industry.
Within U.S. universities, there are multiple indications that much U.S. academic research in telecommunications is being carried out by foreign national graduate students. In the papers published in Globecom 2005, 459 of the 675 authors from U.S. universities (68 percent) have apparently Asian surnames. This observation is consistent with data showing that roughly 60 percent of the Ph.D.s in engineering and 50 percent of the Ph.D.s in computer science awarded in the United States are being awarded to non-U.S. citizens.
Government support for telecommunications research has been small compared with support for other areas of IT, arguably because of the spending on research by the Bell System (until divestiture) and by its progeny. Precise figures are, unfortunately, difficult to come by. Perhaps because telecommunications has not been considered a strategic area for investment, telecommunications research activities do not fall neatly into programs labeled as “telecommunications” nor is telecommunications research funding across the U.S. government tracked as a separate category by NSF’s Division of Science Resources Statistics.