NATURE INDEX

A guide to the Nature Index

A description of the terminology and methodology used in this supplement, and a guide to the functionality available free online at natureindex.com

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliations and institutional relationships. The index tracks contributions to research articles published in 82 high-quality natural science journals, chosen by an independent group of researchers.

The Nature Index provides absolute and fractional counts of article publication at the institutional and national level and, as such, is an indicator of global high-quality research output and collaboration. Data in the Nature Index are updated regularly, with the most recent 12 months made available under a Creative Commons licence at natureindex.com. The database is compiled by Nature Research.

Nature Index metrics

The Nature Index uses article count (AC) and fractional count (FC) to track research output. A country/region or an institution is given an AC of 1 for each article that has at least one author from that country/region or institution. This is the case regardless of the number of authors an article has, and it means that the same article can contribute to the AC of multiple countries/regions or institutions.

To glean a country’s, a region’s or an institution’s contribution to an article, and to ensure they are not counted more than once, the Nature Index uses fractional count (FC), which takes into account the share of authorship on each article. The total FC available per article is 1, which is shared among all authors under the assumption that each contributed equally. For instance, an article with 10 authors means that each author receives an FC of 0.1. For authors who are affiliated with more than one institution, the author’s FC is then split equally between each institution. The total FC for an institution is calculated by summing the FC for individual affiliated authors. The process is similar for countries/regions, although complicated by the fact that some institutions have overseas labs that will be counted towards host country/region totals.

NATUREINDEX.COM

natureindex.com users can search for specific institutions or countries and generate their own reports, ordered by article count (AC) or fractional count (FC).

Each query will return a profile page that lists the country or institution’s recent outputs, from which it is possible to drill down for more information. Articles can be displayed by journal, and then by article. Research outputs are organized by subject area. The pages list the institution or country/region’s top collaborators, as well as its relationship with other organizations. Registering allows users to track an institution’s performance over time, create their own indexes and export table data.

This supplement

Nature Index 2019 Young universities is based on the Nature Index database, covering articles published during the period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2018. Only universities, including graduate universities, from among the top 1,000 academic institutions in the Nature Index for 2018 were considered. They were categorized as young (50 or under) if they were founded as an independent university in 1969 or later and were not formed by the merger or re-merger and/or re-naming of a university or universities older than 50. Although every effort has been made to consistently select young universities by age following the above rules, the question of whether some institutions became genuine ‘new universities’ in the past 50 years, and when, is open to interpretation owing to their very complex histories.

The tables rank the top 50 young universities by their FC for articles published in 2018. Also listed are the institutions’ article count in 2018, the subject or subjects in which they achieved their highest rank, and their rank among all academic institutions in the Nature Index. A second table ranks young universities by their change in FC from January 2015 to December 2018. Also listed are each institution’s FCs in both years and percentage change in FC over the same period.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03218-8

Updates & Corrections

  • Clarification 04 November 2019: This article has been updated to make it clear that young universities were selected only from among the top 1,000 academic institutions in Nature Index in 2018, and to clarify why the classification of a young university is open to interpretation.

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