Australia tops environmental and earth sciences


Thursday 21 March 2013

Australia ranks third in the Asia-Pacific for overall research, and top in earth and environmental sciences, according to the Nature Publishing Index 2012 Asia-Pacific released today.

The University of Melbourne cemented top spot in Australia and also improved its regional ranking to sixth across the Asia-Pacific. The Australian National University (ANU) took second place nationally, rising above the University of Queensland, which dropped to third with a slightly decreased output.

The next institutions and their national ranks are:



The University of Sydney, up to fourth from fifth in 2011, although its output declined slightly


James Cook University (JCU) — the big improver— up to fifth from 58th in Australia in 2009 and tenth last year. JCU published several articles on the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, contributing significantly to Australia’s earth and environmental sciences publication output


Monash University, dropping to sixth from fourth in 2011


The University of New South Wales, moving up one spot to seventh


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) down one spot to eighth


The University of Western Australia, dropping down to ninth from sixth in 2011


The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, down from ninth to tenth but with a slightly improved output.

While Australia’s performance in 2012 improved on 2011, the country fell further behind the top two, Japan and China. On the other hand, Australia expanded its lead on South Korea in fourth place. The high output of Australia’s researchers is keeping the nation secure in third place.

The Nature Publishing Index 2012 Asia-Pacific has been released as a supplement to Nature today. It measures the output of research articles from nations and institutes published in the 18 Nature-branded primary research journals over the calendar year to provide a snapshot of research in the Asia-Pacific in 2012. To see the latest results for the region, and the Nature Publishing Index Global Top 100, visit the Index website at The data posted on the website is updated every week with a moving window of 12 months of data.


Contact: Niall Byrne
Science in Public, Australia
T: +61 417 131 977

Nature Publishing Group press contacts:

Contact: Grace Baynes
Head of Corporate Communications, Nature Publishing Group
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Notes on the Nature Publishing Index:

The Nature Publishing Index (NPI) results should be used with some caveats. It is based only on the publication output in Nature and the 17 Nature research journals. So while it offers a broad coverage of basic research in the life sciences, physical and chemical sciences, the attention to applied sciences, engineering and clinical medicine is relatively limited. The NPI should be used primarily as an indicator of strength in high quality basic research. It does not weight multiple factors in the way that other rankings do, such as the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities or the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The output of an institution or country obviously depends on its size. Some institutions have very large numbers of researchers that help drive up their rankings. So it is important to take into account the numbers of researchers in an institution or country when interpreting the results.

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