Nature Index reports growing Chinese output

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The growing contribution to science of Chinese institutions such as Chinese Academy of Sciences has been revealed in the Nature Index.

The science outputs of 20,000 institutions worldwide can now be analysed with the new index; a freely accessible website is available at, and the Nature Index 2014 Global has been published as a supplement to Nature.

The database tracks the author affiliations of nearly 60,000 high-quality scientific articles published per year, disambiguating more than 20,000 research institutions worldwide.

The global index shows that:

  • Chinese Academy of Sciences leads the world’s institutions in terms of overall publications in high-quality science journals;
  • The CNRS has more than 4,500 papers in the 2014 Index, more than any other institution;
  • Germany leads Europe in terms of high-quality scientific outputs, and percentage of GDP spent on R&D; and
  • North America continues its global dominance in life, physical and earth sciences.

Articles included in the Nature Index are drawn from 68 natural science journals, identified by researchers as where they would choose to publish their best work. The journals were selected by two independent panels of active scientists, chaired by John Morton (University College London) and 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 per cent 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, so 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. A fractional count  indicates an institution’s contribution to an article, taking into account the percentage of authors from an institution (or country) and the number of affiliated institutions per article.

Nature Publishing Group CEO Steven Inchcoombe, said: 'Research is a global enterprise, and science has the power to help solve the societal challenges of our day. At Nature Publishing Group, we want to understand research outputs, collaborations between institutions and the state of global research, and to enable an evidence-based approach to policy and funding.

'We hope the Nature Index, and its freely accessible website, will be helpful to the research community as another perspective to the metrics and evaluation tools available. We are releasing this in beta to encourage feedback, and to emphasise that the Nature Index is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.'