May 19, 2022

Research Output: Natural Sciences: Nature Index 2019 Annual Tables Published Today

From Nature:

In the Nature Index 2019 Annual Tables, released today, the United States is well ahead of China then Germany to make up the top three in the country ranking, while the top three institutions – the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harvard University and Max Planck Society – have held fast to their positions in the institutional ranks.

New From Nature Index

For the first time, the Nature Index annual tables also include a normalized ranking. This takes into account the number of high-quality articles published as a proportion of an institute’s overall output in the natural sciences. The normalized ranking reveals a very different set of leaders among academic institutions.

The top 100 Nature Index ranking draws on metrics known as the Article Count (AC) and Fractional Count (FC), which measure the number of articles and the contribution an institution makes to an article, respectively. In contrast, the new normalized ranking is derived by considering the ratio of FC to the institution’s total article output in natural sciences as tracked by the Dimensions database of Digital Science. The normalization calculation allows institutions of different size to be compared on the same basis. The AC and FC are based on about 60,000 articles published during 2018 in the 82 prestigious scientific journals included in the Nature Index, while the counts of articles in natural sciences in Dimensions are drawn from 3.88 million articles tracked in 2018.

The top three institutes in the normalized ranking are: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the US, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Interestingly, the normalized approach sees some renowned research institutes slip down the rankings slightly in comparison to their position in the standard ranking tables.


[Our emphasis] 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 license at The database is compiled by Springer Nature.

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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.