AsianScientist (Apr. 25, 2016) – Although still a distant second from the world leading US, China and other Asian countries are steadily climbing up the Nature Index rankings, an indication of not just growing scientific output but increasing quality.
The Nature Index is a database of primary research articles published in a selection of 68 journals chosen for their perceived quality. According to Nature, the 68 journals included in the first release of the Nature Index represent less than one percent of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) but account for close to 30 percent of total citations to natural science journals.
The weighted fractional count (WFC) takes into account the percentage of authors from a particular institution or country and the number of affiliated institutions per article, weighting against articles from specialist astronomy and astrophysics journals which are over-represented in their total publication output, compared to other fields.
For the fourth year running, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has retained its spot as top institution in the world, a position it has held since the inception of the index in 2013. Together with academic institutions such as Peking University (11th worldwide and 2nd in Asia), Nanjing University (20th worldwide and 4th in Asia) and Tsinghua University (24th worldwide and 5th in Asia), the output from the CAS has helped China improve its WFC by 4.8 percent over the previous year.
Rounding out the top three Asian countries are fifth ranked Japan and ninth ranked South Korea, both of which maintained their 2015 positions despite seeing their WFC fall by more than 5 points. The University of Tokyo remains Asia’s top academic institution, improving its ranking from fourth to third in the world behind Harvard and Stanford Universities in the US.
Smaller countries such as Singapore and Taiwan have also performed well on the Nature Index, coming in 17th and 18th respectively. Of particular interest is Singapore’s top ranked academic institution, Nanyang Technological University, which jumped three places from 2015 to come in 32nd in the world and 7th position in Asia. This ranking puts it ahead of 40th ranked National University of Singapore, which fell four places from 2015’s index.
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