The effects of a government stimulation program on the development of Dutch biotechnology have been studied scientometrically in comparison with world-wide averages, and with the effects of programs of five important large Western industrial nations, in the period 1976–1985. In two priority fields of the Dutch programme, fermentation and bio-industrial chemistry, and biochemical genetics, publication rates were below world average before 1980–1981, but reached levels significantly above world average in 1984–1985. Both in 1980 and 1984, Dutch articles were characterized by a relatively high short-term impact. In 1984, the impact of Dutch articles was slightly above the 1980 level. When publications were counted in a core set of 19 biotechnology relevant journals, the share of Dutch biotechnologists did not change between 1979–1982 and 1983–1986, while Canada, Japan, France, and, to some extent, the UK, improved their positions, but the Federal Republic of Germany lost some ground.
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