May 23, 2022

Academic Publishing: Nature Releases 2016 Nature Index Rankings

From Nature Publishing Group/Springer Nature

2016-04-21_10-57-13The US is the world’s largest contributor to high-quality scientific research papers, followed by China and Germany, according to the Nature Index 2016 Tables. Of the top ten countries in the Nature Index, only China has shown double digit compound annual growth between 2012 and 2015 with some of its universities growing their contribution to the index as fast as 25% annually. US contributions have declined 2.8% in the same period from a very high base.

The Nature Index Tables, which show Nature Index calendar year outputs for the last four years, are released together today for the first time. The Nature Index is built on a country or institution’s contribution to about 60,000 high-quality papers each year, and counts both the total number of papers and the relative contribution to each paper. (See ‘About the Nature Index’ for full definitions of measures.)

Harvard University, US, has the highest 2015 contribution of any university in the world. Stanford University (second), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (fourth), University of California, Berkeley (seventh), University of California, San Diego (ninth) and University of Michigan (tenth) — all from the US — occupy top ten positions. The University of Tokyo, Japan, is placed third, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, UK, are fifth and sixth, respectively, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, is placed eighth.


The Nature Index website — — provides free, quick and simple access to the recent research profiles of over 8,000 global institutions and 150 countries. The data behind the 2016 tables remains freely accessible, enabling users to examine patterns of publication and collaboration down to the article level where measures of their media impact are tracked in real time.

To accompany the release of the Nature Index Tables, a News section has been added to the Nature Index website. Here, the Nature Index editors will provide ongoing editorial analysis and commentary around the most recent data, including organisational and country-level profiles and infographics. The analysis will include additional information from other data sources, such as demographics, national spend on research and development, and changes to science policy and funding, that will help to put the Nature Index data into context.

Read the Complete Nature Index 2016 Release Announcement Release Announcement

From the Nature Index Web Site:

Since 2012, every paper published in 68 top-tier journals has been included in the Nature Index database. The index tallies the number of articles (AC) published by universities and research institutions, and by extension, reveals the output of cities and countries. It also measures the contribution of researchers to articles, by a metric called weighted fractional count (WFC), which divides credit for each article by the affiliations of contributing authors. This measure is weighted to account for the disproportionate number of astronomy articles in the index.

Nature Index 2016 Resources

See Also: Nature Index Data From 2015, 2014 and 2013

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.