Chinese Academy of Sciences on track for top Asia-Pacific rank

Media releases, Nature Publishing Index 2012 Asia-Pacific


Thursday 21 March 2013

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) just failed to overtake The University of Tokyo as Asia-Pacific’s top research institution in 2012. But it will almost certainly achieve top rank in 2013.  Indeed, on a rolling 12-month window to mid-March, the CAS has a substantial lead, and its rise is typical of China’s impressive research output growth.

These are the lead conclusions of the Nature Publishing Index (NPI) 2012 Asia-Pacific, published today in Nature.

The NPI shows that China ranks second in the Asia-Pacific region behind Japan, but China’s research output is growing at a faster rate. China has 51 institutions in the Asia-Pacific top 200, and most of them improved their ranking from last year, reflecting China’s strong economy and increasing science investment.

CAS is the country’s outstanding research leader. Its size is a factor, encompassing over 100 research institutions. CAS leads all other Asia-Pacific institutions in publications in Nature and three of the 17 other Nature research journals.

The top ten institutions in China are:

  • Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
  • The University of Science and Technology of China, which has retained second place
  • Tsinghua University in third place, up from fourth
  • Peking University in fourth, having swapped places with Tsinghua University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University and BGI in fifth and sixth places, respectively; these two institutions have showed the biggest proportional growth since 2008
  • Zhejiang University, which rose from 11th last year to seventh
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology, which jumped from 20th spot last year to eighth
  • Fudan University, which rose to ninth place with strong contributions in life and physical sciences
  • The University of Hong Kong, which dropped from eighth, last year to tenth — the only one of this year’s top 10 whose publication output decreased.

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.


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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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