By Ruth A. Pagell*
(3 0ct 2020) Nature has taken the data from its 2020 rankings, using 2019 share data (fractional counting), to produce a ranking of the top 200 Science Cities. Nature Index does not include output in social sciences or arts and humanities, it uses the one metric, and is size-dependent. What is most interesting is the range of locations that are ranked. Some of the cities are obvious, such as Tokyo, since they are the largest cities in the world. Some, such as Paris, have long histories of being education centers. Others, in the 101-200 rankings include small U.S. college towns and research locations, such as Los Alamos, New Mexico with a population of 12,000. Given the decentralized landscape of U.S. research, it has twice as many cities as China and Germany, and with the U.K., these are the only countries with more than 10 cities.
This is another example of the increasing scientific footprint of mainland China. 21 of its 26 cities are in the top 100. Japan has six of its eight cities in the top 100, and the highest ranked of India’s four cities is 98. 29 of the U.S.’ 55 cities are in the top 100, for example.
Nature Index also ranks the top 50 cities in chemistry, life sciences, and physical sciences, and the top 25 in earth and environmental sciences. Beijing is tops in chemistry, physical sciences, and earth and environmental sciences and New York in life sciences. Eight cities are top five in the four categories: China -Beijing (4), Nanjing (2) and Shanghai (1); U.S. San Francisco (4), New York (3), Boston (2), and Baltimore-Washington (2); and Tokyo (2). Note: Numbers in brackets are the number of sciences in which they are ranked top five.
COMPARING POPULATION with NATURE INDEX RANKINGS
I thought it would be interesting to see if these rankings were size-dependent, based on population, and went looking for one list of rankings of world cities. After all the years I spent writing about international and demographic data, I should have known better.
There is no one “right” answer to what is the population of New York, for example. Data are collected at different times, since the census is not annual, updated population figures are estimates, and there are even different definitions of what is the city.
|City or Metropolitan Area from Nature list||Country||Population rank (1)||UN Metro Area (2)||US Cities (3)|
|2||New York metropolitan area||US||42||11||1|
|3||Boston metropolitan area||US||773||21|
|4||San Francisco-San Jose||US||618||16/10 (3a)|
|6||Baltimore-Washington (DC)||US||77||30/20 (3a)|
|7||Tokyo metropolitan area||JP||1||1|
|9||Paris metropolitan area||FR||26||28|
|10||Los Angeles metropolitan area||US||103||23||2|
|11||Chicago metropolitan area||US||175||39||3|
|12||Seoul metropolitan area||KR||33||34|
|14||London metropolitan area||UK||35||37|
|18||San Diego metropolitan area||US||348||8|
|20||Hefei (home to U Sci Tech China)||CN||94|
|21||Philadelphia metropolitan area||US||311||68||6|
|22||Berlin metropolitan area||DE||121|
|28||Seattle metropolitan area||US||701||18|
|29||Houston metropolitan area||US||205||61||4|
|33||Ann Arbor (MI)||US||236|
|36||Atlanta metropolitan area||US||1088||69||37|
|40||Barcelona metropolitan area||SP||67||72|
|44||Montreal metropolitan area||CA||96|
|50||Ithaca (NY)||NY||>788 (3b)|
|OTHER||ASIAN CITIES, not China|
|61||Nagoya metropolitan area||JP||34|
|99||Kolkata metropolitan area||IN||15||16|
World Cities – (1) using city data https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities
Many of the world’s cities with the most population are in developing countries. The population of many U.S. cities is much smaller than the metropolitan area. For example, the city of Atlanta has about 500 thousand people while the metropolitan area has over six million.
World Cities – (2) using metropolitan areas UN World’s-Urbanization prospects Urban agglomerations with over 5 million inhabitants, July 2018 https://population.un.org/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2018-Highlights.pdf
US Cities – (3) with population over 50,000 https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/popest/2010s-total-cities-and-towns.html
(3a) – rankings for the individual cities
(3b) – the population of Ithaca is 31,000
Armitage, C. (Sep. 2020). The top cities for research in the Nature Index, Nature Index, accessed at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02575-z
Ruth’s Rankings Update, August 2020 https://librarylearningspace.com/drowning-rankings-nature-cwts-qs-ruths-rankings-updates-2nd-quarter-2020/
For more information about Nature Index see:
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