Singapore science output surges

Media releases, Nature Publishing Index 2012 Asia-Pacific


Thursday 21 March 2013

Singapore’s science output has grown faster in 2012 than any of the major science-producing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Nature Publishing Index (NPI) Asia-Pacific 2012. The NPI 2012 Asia-Pacific has been released as a supplement to Nature today.

In 2012:

  • Singapore consolidated fifth place in the Asia-Pacific with a greater than 50% increase in output of high quality research published in Nature research journals.
  • Singapore narrowed the gap to fourth-ranked South Korea whose output dropped slightly. The top three nations are Japan, China and Australia.
  • The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s leading research institution. It ranked in the top ten institutions in the Asia-Pacific region — reaching ninth place up from 16th in 2011. This is an honour for Singapore that had last been achieved by the government’s Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) in 2010.
  • NUS is the first Singapore institution to rank in the Global Top 100 – coming in at 76.
  • A*STAR more than doubled its output compared with its low 2011 performance. It is the second-ranked institute in Singapore and ranks 16th in the region.
  • The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology made the greatest contributions to A*STAR’s output.
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is the third of the major research institutes in Singapore. It has shown the greatest increase in publication output of the top three over the past five years.

With a population of just over 5.3 million, science and innovation are high priority for both government and industry, and of high quality. Singapore benefits from large amounts of private investment in R&D; a high level of international collaboration; a high proportion of research scientists within the population; and high output of publications for each research scientist.

The NPI 2012 Asia-Pacific measures the output of research articles from nations and institutes published in the 18 Nature-branded primary research journals over the calendar year. The supplement provides 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
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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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