Nature Index indicates China’s leading cities for high quality research and status of research collaboration

(17 December 2014) The diversity of Chinese institutions and their growing contribution to global scientific developments and collaborations with other countries have been highlighted in the Nature Index China 2014, published as a supplement in Nature today.

By 2013 weighted fractional count (WFC), China is currently the country with the second largest output in the new Nature Index represented by 19 Chinese institutions in the top 200 global contributors. WFC apportions credit based on the relative contribution of authors from each country to a paper.

Today’s supplement shows the continued domination of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the contributions of more than 100 institutes within the different disciplines. Examining index data at city level, the Index showcases China’s top ten cities by WFT as well as its international and intercity collaborations for high-quality research.

Home to CAS and the country’s two leading universities of Peking and Tsinghua, Beijing is by far the most productive city in the Nature Index generating 2.4 times as many research articles as Shanghai, and five times as many as Nanjing. The city has a higher WFC than Canada, which is in the top 7 global contributors. Beijing is followed by Shanghai with nearly one third of its research output coming from the life sciences—a greater proportion than the national average. The other leading cities for high-quality science output include Nanjing, Hong Kong, Changchun, Wuhan, Hefei, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Tianjin.

The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia are the top five countries that China has primarily collaborated with on research papers covered by the Index. Examining intercity collaborations, the Nature Index finds more than half of collaborations by Beijing are with institutions in the same city and the number of Hefei-Beijing collaboration is unusually high. Hong Kong has more external than internal collaborations.

Nick Campbell, Head of NPG China, said: “The Nature Index China demonstrates some fascinating patterns in the country towards both collaboration and global outputs. In some ways China is still a developing nation, but without a doubt I see it as being the biggest contributor to growth in scientific development in the next few years.

“The commitment from the Chinese government to growing the proportion of GDP devoted to R&D, and a recent focus on reforming the funding and organisational structure for science are important to continued scientific growth within China.”

The Nature Index analyses the high quality science outputs of 20,000 institutions. Articles included in the Index are drawn from 68 natural science journals, identified by researchers as where they would choose to publish their best work.

First launched in November 2014, the Nature Index is compiled by Nature Publishing Group in collaboration with Digital Science. More information on the Nature Index is available at natureindex.com. The China specific supplement is also available here.