LINCOLN — Iowa and Nebraska both rank above the national average when it comes to producing published research, according to a new study by the Council of State Governments.

The study, released Monday in a briefing to Nebraska lawmakers at the State Capitol, found the state ranked second on research related to physics and astronomy. Nebraska institutions also produce a high volume of research on agriculture and biological sciences.

The report should help elected officials, policymakers and higher education professionals understand their research strengths and make decisions on how to invest limited research dollars to produce the most economic benefit.

“It doesn’t represent a road map, but it does provide a resource,” David Adkins, executive director of the Council of State Governments.

Called “America’s Knowledge Economy: A State-by-State Review,” the study was completed in partnership with Elsevier, which maintains a national database of research. The study involved analysis of published research from each state from 2004 to 2013.

The study found Nebraska institutions produced 2.30 research publications per 1,000 residents in 2013, compared with the national average of 1.70 publications. Nebraska ranked 22nd out of the states in the category.

Iowa produced 2.46 publications per 1,000 residents, which ranked the state 15th. Iowa also ranked in the top 10 on astronomy and physics research and was 14th among states in pharmacology and toxicology.

Massachusetts ranked first with 7.5 publications produced per 1,000 residents, followed by Maryland, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Connecticut.

The five states to lead the nation in published research, not ranked per capita, are California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Also attending Monday’s announcement were Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ernie Goss, economics professor at Creighton University. The event was hosted by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, elected to serve next year as national chairman of the Council of State Governments.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9587,

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