Nature Index 2015: Asia-Pacific consolidates reputation as high-quality scientific research power house
25 March 2015
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has maintained its world-leading reputation for high-quality scientific research, according to the
Nature Index APAC supplement 2015, published today as a supplement of Nature. APAC nations contributed more than 25% of articles included in the Nature Index database in 2014.
China leads the way in the region, trailing only the United States in the total number of high-quality science papers published
between 1 January and 31 December 2014. Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Singapore and Taiwan also made significant
contributions in the same period.
First launched in November 2014, the Nature Index is a database of author affiliations and institutional relationships, used to
track contributions to articles published in 68 science journals. Highlights of note from this year’s supplement:
- Many countries in APAC focus on chemistry and the physical sciences, including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea. This compares to the global view, which is more evenly balanced between life sciences, physical sciences and chemistry
- Nearly 90% of India’s NI publications are in physical sciences and chemistry
- Based on weighted fractional count* (WFC), China is the region’s leading contributor in three of the four categories; chemistry, physical sciences, earth and environmental sciences
- Japan leads the region in life sciences
- New Zealand’s strengths lie in Earth & Environmental Sciences
- Singapore boasts one of the world’s highest numbers of scientists and engineering researchers per capita. The NI supplement notes its global standing in electronics, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals and its strong track record in international collaboration
- Australia outperforms Japan and China in its relative output in Nature and Science journals
- Australia and India have two of the highest rates of global collaboration in APAC – with more than 80% of collaboration involving non-APAC nations
- Australia's recent and near-term funding cuts are discussed in the editorial, and their impacts on R&D performance remain to be seen
Executive Editor of Nature, Nick Campbell, believes that the leading countries in the region, and especially China, are benefitting from increased investment in research:
"China is reaping the fruits of sustained increases in investment into research, to the extent that it is now one of the world’s
leading producers of high quality research papers, as the Nature Index illustrates. The structural reforms recently announced by
the Chinese government, will also hopefully help maintain the momentum of this growth and improve efficiency."
More information about the Nature Index is available at http://www.nature.com/nature-index-2015-asia-pacific.
About The Nature Index
Articles included in the Nature Index are drawn from 68 natural science journals, which were selected by two independent
panels of active scientists, chaired by Professor John Morton (University College London) and Dr Yin-Biao Sun (Kings College,
London). More than 2,800 responses to a large-scale survey were used to validate the selections. Nature Publishing Group
estimate that these 68 journals account for about 30% of total citations to natural science journals.
A rolling 12-month snapshot of data from the Nature Index is openly available under a Creative Commons license at
natureindex.com, so that users can analyse scientific research outputs themselves. On the index website, an institution's
output of articles can be viewed across the 12-month data window and by broad subject area. International and domestic
collaborations are also shown for each institution.
Nature Index uses three measures to track affiliation data for individuals
- Article count (AC) - A country or institution is given an AC of 1 for each article that has at least one author from that
country or institution. This is the case whether an article has one or a hundred authors, and it means that the same article
can contribute to the AC of multiple countries or institutions.
- Fractional Count (FC) - FC takes into account the relative contribution of each author to an article. The total FC available
per paper is 1, and this is shared between all authors under the assumption that each contributed equally. For instance, a paper with 10 authors means that each author receives an FC of 0.1. For authors who have worked with joint affiliations,
the individual FC is then split equally between each affiliation
- *Weighted Fraction Count (WFC) - applies a weighting to the FC in order to adjust for the overrepresentation of papers
from astronomy and astrophysics. The four journals in these disciplines publish about 50% of all papers in international
journals in this field — approximately fivetimes the equivalent figures for other fields. Therefore, although the data for
astronomy and astrophysics are compiled in exactly the same way as for all other disciplines, articles from these journals
are assigned one-fifth the weight of other articles.
Notes for editors
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publishes a range of Nature research journals and Nature Reviews journals, and a range of prestigious academic and partner journals including society-owned publications. Online, nature.com provides over 8 million visitors per month with access to NPG publications and services, including news and comment from Nature, and the leading scientific jobs board Naturejobs.
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