New Scientist today carries a report on how scientific research is surging in areas such as the Middle East (notably Turkey and Iran), as well as in Asia, which passed North America last year in total scientific papers published. Judging by total published papers is at best a simple metric, but it indicates an important shift in knowledge production—itself an indicator of innovation overall.
As I wrote about with regard to Chinese IT and the long-term implications of its growth, these weak signals point to a future where the roles of innovators and copiers may well shift and swap. Science and technology driven by these emerging regions will change the cultural mix of global S&T and will certainly over time take away the West's perceived birthright as the engine of global technology. Flat worlds run both ways.
(Thanks for the link goes to @mgorbis)