Before the 1980s scientific activity in Spain was virtually inexistent. A great effort of investment and modernization in last three decades has produced a science system now visible in the world scene. According to ISR (International Science Ranking) Spain obtains the 9th position by number of scientific publications, which roughly corresponds to the position of the country by economic and social wealth. However, results on high quality are much poorer. The position of Spain in terms of citations per document in the period 1996-2008 is n. 29.
According to the report by Alicia Rivera in the journal El Pais, there is a general worry that the Spanish system supports plenty of routine scientific work, groups that go along by repeating some types of studies that got easily published, while there are very few groups, or centers, doing high quality, influential scientific activity.
In fact the Spanish system tends to the equality, by the administrative and democratic system of rules that governs the Universities and most Research Centers. This system oposes, rather than encouraging, the difference and the excellence. Lack of flexibitlity, total lack of organization tools, are major problems that require a drastic intervention at this time of crisis.