By Ruth A. Pagell*
- What does it mean for China to have a declining share in Nature Index?
- How do rankings for publications and proportion of publications differ in CWTS Leiden?
- Is there anything new in THE Asia?
- Are there changes in international student scores in QS World 2022?
- What is new with Preprints? (RR 46 Part 2)?
(23 June 2021) Nature Index, CWTS Leiden, THE Asia, and QS World updated their rankings. Nature Index provides a story of change, with a noticeable decrease in China’s growth. See the 2020 update Drowning in rankings for more detailed tables from last year’s update.
Nature Index and CWTS Leiden’s indicators are comparable in their focus on universities’ research performance. Nature uses publications in an exclusive list of 82 journals in natural and life sciences. CWTS Leiden has about 12,000 journals from WOS’ citation indexes. QS and THE are comparable in their methodologies.
I am accustomed to reading about China’s gains. This year’s Index focuses on China’s declining rate of growth (Armitage). With roadblocks to welcoming or collaborating with Chinese students and scholars in countries such as the U.S. and Australia, China is looking inward for its research. Researchers are returning to China (Armitage and Woolston).
Between 2018 and 2019 the U.S.’ share dropped by 4.4% and in 2020 it dropped by 1.3%. China’s share rose by 15.5% in 2019 and 1.1% in 2020. According to Nature Index, which country performed better in the 2021 Index?
NOTE: Each publication is assigned a value of one (Count.) Share is the credit divided among institutions or countries, similar to CWTS’ fractional count.
Positive growth is a larger share in the current year than the year before, even if output is less than the prior year. China’s share declined 14%. The U.S., Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the UK all have positive changes. Japan had the largest gain.
Last year, eight Chinese institutions were in the top ten of Rising Institution. This year there are two along with two from Japan and one each from Australia, Germany, Russia. Singapore, South Korea, and the U.S.(Crew). Nine of the top 10 universities are the same as 2020.
Nature index has many tables, with few changes at the top. Harvard University is first. The University of Tokyo is tops in Asia/Pac and fourth globally. See Table 1 for comparisons between Nature Index and CWTS Leiden. Harvard and Peking universities are the only two in the top ten for both.
Data for the 2021 Index are from calendar year 2020. In addition to the top lists, filter to a specific country and subject, for example retrieve a list all 15 institutions in Singapore that have publications in Physical Sciences.
A recent supplement lists the top 100 institutions in China with the top 50 in four subjects: Chinese Academy of Sciences is first in all. Second in the categories are University of Science & Technology China in Chemistry and Physical Sciences, Peking in Life Sciences, and Nanjing University in Earth and Environmental.
Advantages to the Nature Index are the inclusion of institutions with at least one author, the ability to filter by region and subject and export the data, and Current lists throughout the year. Disadvantages are the limited subjects, journals, and size dependent measures of publications.
Armitage, C. (20 May 2021). Country Comparisons in a difficult year China’s losses are seven other nations’ gains. https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/nature-index-annual-tables-twenty-twenty-one-country-comparisons-difficult-year
Armitage, C. and Woolston, C. (26 May 2021). Silk Road becomes the one less travelled as China lures science talent home. Barriers to cooperation could create a more competitive, less collegiate research landscape https://media.nature.com/original/magazine-assets/d41586-021-01402-3/d41586-021-01402-3.pdf
Crew, B. (20 May 2021). Ten rising stars of the Nature Index Annual Tables 2021: China’s dominance falls away, as this year’s list of fast-risers features a more global spread of institutions. https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/ten-rising-stars-institutions-of-nature-index-annual-tables-twenty-twenty-one
Nature Index 2021: https://www.natureindex.com/annual-tables/2021
Nature Index Supplements 2021: Asia Pacific: https://www.natureindex.com/supplements/nature-index-2021-asia-pacific/index and China: https://www.natureindex.com/supplements/nature-index-2021-china/tables/overall
CWTS Leiden’s 2021 ranking has four new countries, three from Africa, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Nigeria, and Vietnam bringing the total to 69. 49 new universities met inclusion requirements, bringing the total to 1,225. The minimum requirement is 800 articles or reviews published in 2016-2019 in a subset of Web of Science journals. Click here for the link to core journals. The same 1,225 institutions are in their four indicators. Listed below are the top in the world, Asia, and Oceana for each indicator with the metric:
Scientific impact, Overall publications: Harvard; Shanghai Jiao Tong (2); U Melbourne (29)
Collaboration, Proportion of all collaboration: University of Science & Technology Korea; Novosibirsk State U (3), Australian Catholic University (36)
Collaboration, Proportion of international collaboration: King Abdulaziz U; U Iceland (4); Ton Duc Thang U Vietnam (6); U Canterbury NZ (27)
Open access, Proportion of all OA: Bilkent U TR; London Sch Hygiene & Trop Med (2), [46 of top 50– UK]; East Asia, U Putra Malaysia (186); Queensland U Tech (192), and
Gender, Proportion of Female authors: Med U Bialystok, [8 of world top 10 are Polish], All Asia, U Haifa (24) [7 of top 10 in all Asia, Turkey]; Australian Catholic U (35); East Asia, Mahidol (330).
Advantages are filtering by field, indicator, and location for time periods back to 2006-2009, selecting fractionalized or full count (size-dependent quantity), or by proportions (size independent), and downloading the entire dataset. Not having a composite score is a disadvantage.
Table 1A compares the top universities in Nature and CWTS and Table 1B, top countries. Table 2 shows the difference in rankings based on the number of articles and the proportion for the top 15. Shanghai Jiao Tong is second in number of publications and 483 in proportion of articles cited in the top 10% of their fields.
CWTS Leiden Ranking list 2021 https://www.leidenranking.com/ranking/2021/list
CWTS Publishes the 2021 Leiden Ranking https://www.cwts.nl/news?article=n-s2t274&title=cwts-publishes-the-leiden-ranking-2021
THE 2021 promoted the improvement in Japanese rankings. Looking at the top 50 universities, it is South Korea who is closest to China with Japan fourth behind Hong Kong. THE remains one of the few rankings that only includes two universities from Singapore in its entire ranking.
FIGURE 1: Distribution of the top 50 by Country – 2021
Other countries with universities with top 50 institutions are India, Iran, Lebanon and Malaysia. Nine countries are in East Asia and five from West Asia. Tsinghua, Peking, and National University of Singapore remain the top three and are in the top 25 in the world. See Table 3A for top ten in 2020 and 2021 and Table 3B, the top university for each of the 30 countries included in Asia for 2021.
An advantage is sorting on number of students, number of students to staff, international students, and female/male ratio. A disadvantage is lack of transparency for the data from the different indicators.
Bothwell, E. (2 June 2021). Asia university rankings 2021: results announced – Japan achieves best performance in six years, but China still tops the regional rankings. (Registration required)
Pagell, Ruth (14 Aug 2020) https://librarylearningspace.com/drowning-rankings-nature-cwts-qs-ruths-rankings-updates-2nd-quarter-2020/
QS 2022 has 1,300 ranked universities. Only the top 500 have individual ranks and overall scores. See Table 4 for QS world rankings for the past five years.
I looked at international student scores as a metric that might have shown changes due to the pandemic, Brexit, or changes in political policies. Drops in rankings for international students from 2015-2016 are noticeable for the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. QS only supplies scores and there is little differential at the top. More analysis will be available when THE releases its 2022 rankings since it allows for ranking by percent of international students. https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2022
When I introduced preprints in Ruth’s Rankings 46 Part 2, it was with an article that focused on problems with preprints (Anderson, R.) A recent article by Avissar-Whiting sees preprints as a way to catch misconduct before it appears in journals.
“Rather than being a venue for misconduct, preprint servers — especially those closely tied to publishers — have the potential to help reveal wrongdoings that have found cover for years in the opaque practices dominating scholarly publishing.”
The publisher of eLife is concerned by the media picking up content from preprints and suggests peer-reviewed preprints.
Checking Dimensions, the best source for preprints, the overall number rose by about 30% . The number in the new preprint server medRxiv increased from under 1,000 in its introductory year 2019 to over 14,000 in 2020, with over 91,000 citations in 2020. https://app.dimensions.ai/analytics/publication/source_title/aggregated?and_facet_publication_type=preprint
Anderson, R. (14 Dec 2020). Journalism, preprint servers and the truth: Allocating accountability. The Scholarly Kitchen, accessed at https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2020/12/14/journalism-preprint-servers-and-the-truth-allocating-accountability/
Avissar-Whiting, M. (2 June 2021). Guest Post – The 10,000 – watt bulb: How preprints shine a light on misconduct. Scholarly Kitchen, https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2021/06/02/guest-post-the-10000-watt-bulb-how-preprints-shine-a-light-on-misconduct/
Grove, J. (17 June 2021). ‘Peer-reviewed preprints’ will offer guide to quality, says eLife. Times Higher Education https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/peer-reviewed-preprints-will-offer-guide-quality-says-elife
Updates will be released throughout the year. In addition to reporting on who is number one, I will look for any noticeable rankings’ changes due to the pandemic or geopolitical events and keep an eye out for new metrics.
A list of Ruth’s Rankings and News Updates is here.
*Ruth A. Pagell is emeritus faculty librarian at Emory University. After working at Emory, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University and then adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii. She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to ACCESS – https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674