(24 Sep 2021) The Nature Index 2021 Science Cities, released on September 24, takes a new focus on its science cities, as it examines their research output related to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from the period of 2015-20. The top 10 science cities in SDG-related research are Beijing, San Francisco Bay Area, New York MA, Baltimore-Washington, Boston MA, Shanghai, Nanjing, Singapore, Los Angeles MA, and Seoul MA.
The supplement explores SDG-related research output by leading science cities and metropolitan areas in the 82 selected natural-sciences journals tracked by the Nature Index. These cities were measured by article share or Share from 2015 to 2020, the key metric of the Nature Index. Articles are filtered into 17 SDGs using SDG-related classifiers available via Digital Science’s Dimensions database*.
While the supplement concentrates on ten SDGs (of 17 total) that are most relevant to the natural-sciences focus of the Nature Index, there are three dominating SDGs by volume of related publications in the Nature Index journals: SDG7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG13 (Climate action) and SDG3 (Good health and well-being).
However, the Nature Index data show that different cities have different priorities in SDG-related research. For example, Beijing had the highest SDG7-related output for 2015-20, almost three times higher than that of San Francisco Bay Area. The city was also placed first by research output related to SDG13 and SDG14 (Life below water) for the same period. Baltimore-Washington and Boston MA are No.1 and No.2 for SDG3-related research. New York MA is strong in research on SDG 13, only second to Beijing.
David Swinbanks, Founder of the Nature Index, commented: “These local priorities reflect the different local challenges these cities are facing and actively responding to, as well as the high concentration of resources including leading scientific institutions, facilities and funding in many of the world’s largest cities. But it is also noteworthy that small cities focused on particular SDG-related research can also contribute significantly. For example, Townsville, Australia with a population of less than 200,000 is second only to Beijing in research on life under water (SDG-14) due to leading edge research on the Great Barrier Reef by institutions there.”
The growth in output of SDG research is shown as having been greatest in Beijing, and Chinese cities – Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – with the New York and Boston metropolitan areas appearing in the top 20 fastest-rising cities.
The supplement also includes global science city ranking by overall performance (not just SDG research) in Nature Index in 2020. Beijing comes on top of the ranking, a position held since 2016. Nanjing has risen from rank 19 to 8, Shanghai from 8th to 5th, while New York MA, Baltimore-Washington, Tokyo, Paris and Los Angeles MA have all moved down one position 2015-2020.
The full supplement can be read and accessed here. The supplement was produced with the financial support of the Beijing Municipal Government. Nature retains sole responsibility for all editorial content.
The press release in full can be found here.