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Young universities in Asia are strongly represented in rankings for high-quality research output

New Nature Index rankings of universities aged 50 and under reveal that institutes in Asian countries are performing particularly well in terms of output of high-quality research

London | Sydney | New York, 23 October 2019

The first Nature Index Young universities tables and supplement, which rank universities aged 50 and under have just been published. The tables reveal that young universities in China, South Korea and Singapore are performing particularly well in terms of producing high-quality research. Two tables are included in the print version of the Young universities supplement: a top 50 table that ranks young universities by their Fractional Count (FC*), and a top 25 rising table that ranks young universities according to the difference in their FC from 2015 to 2018. The online tables also include rankings broken down by subject. 

Further features in the supplement explore the reasons why young universities are so successful at producing high-quality research. One interesting finding from the supplement shows, for example, that Germany and China each have 11 young universities in the top 100 Nature Index of young universities, yet the collective output of Germany’s young universities is less than one-third of their Chinese peers. Case studies of successful young universities from Switzerland, China, South Korea, the US, Australia and France are presented, as well as an interview with the president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

David Swinbanks, Founder of the Nature Index, said: “It is interesting to observe that many of the most successful young universities have similar traits. Apart from being free from the traditions that often characterize older institutions, these younger universities often have strong interdisciplinary cultures, and pride themselves on promoting creative thinking, as well as providing leadership opportunities for young and mid-career researchers. These measures also help to attract a diverse student population and encourage the pursuit of unconventional research that inspires innovation.” 

The tables and supplement are available here.

About the Nature Index

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliations and institutional relationships. The index tracks contributions to research articles published in 82 high-quality natural science journals, chosen by an independent group of researchers.

The Nature Index provides absolute and fractional counts of article publications at the institutional and national level and, as such, is an indicator of global high-quality research output and collaboration. Data in the Nature Index are updated regularly, with the most recent 12 months made available under a Creative Commons license at The database is compiled by Springer Nature.

The Nature Index metrics

The main metrics Nature Index provides to track research output and collaboration are article count (AC) and fractional count (FC).

A country/region or an institution is given an AC of 1 for each article that has at least one author from that country/region or institution. This is the case regardless of the number of authors an article has, and it means that the same article can contribute to the AC of multiple countries/regions or institutions.

*FC takes into account the relative contribution of each author to an article. The maximum FC per paper is 1, and this is shared between all authors under the assumption that each contributed equally. For instance, each author on a paper with 10 authors would receive a FC of 0.1.

About Springer Nature

Springer Nature is a leading research, educational and professional publisher, providing quality content to our communities through a range of innovative platforms, products and services. Every day, around the globe, our imprints, books, journals and resources reach millions of people – helping researchers, students, teachers and professionals to discover, learn and achieve more. Through our family of brands, we aim to serve and support the research, education and professional communities by putting them at the heart of all we do, delivering the highest possible standards in content and technology, and helping shape the future of publishing for their benefit and for society overall. Visit: and follow @SpringerNature.


Elizabeth Hawkins | Springer Nature | Communications
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