Frequently asked questions

  1. 1.0 Introduction to the Nature Index
    1. 1.1 What is the Nature Index?
    2. 1.2 How will the Nature Index be of value to the researcher community?
    3. 1.3 How will the Nature Index be made available?
    4. 1.4 Caveats on the use of Nature Index
  2. 2.0 How to use the Nature Index website
    1. 2.1 Data range
    2. 2.2 Searching for a specific institution or country
    3. 2.3 Ordering research outputs by institution
    4. 2.4 Ordering research outputs by country
  3. 3.0 The Nature Index methodology
    1. 3.1 How have articles been selected for inclusion in the Nature Index?
    2. 3.2 Why is the Nature Index based on articles from 68 journals?
    3. 3.3 What data is held in the Nature Index?
    4. 3.4 How is article output counted?
    5. 3.5 Does the Nature Index include all articles from the selected journals? Are all articles treated equally?
    6. 3.6 Institutional database
  4. 4.0 The Nature Index journals
  5. 5.0 Regions
  6. 6.0 Subjects/journal groups

1.0 Introduction to the Nature Index

1.1 What is the Nature Index?

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 68 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy for high-quality research output at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index is updated monthly, and a 12-month rolling window (1 September 2015 - 31 August 2016) of data is openly available at www.natureindex.com under a Creative Commons non-commercial license.

1.2 How will the Nature Index be of value to the researcher community?

We anticipate users of the Nature Index to be anyone with an interest in the origin of high-quality scientific research from around the world. Questions such as the following can be explored using the Nature Index:

  • How much high-quality scientific research tracked in the Nature Index is produced by my institution? How does this compare to other research organizations across the world/in my region/in my broad field?
  • Which institutions make the biggest absolute contribution to high-quality scientific research tracked by the Nature Index globally/in my region/in my broad field?

The Nature Index will also provide institutions with an easy means to identify and highlight some of their best scientific research.

The Nature Index provides a perspective on high-quality research on the basis of published articles. It is intended to be one of a number of metrics to assess research excellence and institutional performance. It is not intended to be definitive, and our expectation is that it will be used in concert with other measures and tools.

1.3 How will the Nature Index be made available?

The Nature Index database is updated monthly. A 12-month rolling window of data is organized and made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) at www.natureindex.com.

Publications that analyse and interpret Nature Index data over a given period of time or for a given region are produced and distributed with Nature.

1.4 Caveats on the use of Nature Index

The Nature Index is primarily a free database of author affiliation information that reveals global publication and collaboration patterns. Once a year, Nature Index releases a set of country- and institutional-level tables based on counts of high-quality research outputs in the previous calendar year. It is important for users to understand that these tables are based on a relatively small proportion of total research articles, that they cover the natural sciences only, and that outputs are non-normalized (that is, they don’t reflect the size of the institution or country, or its overall research output). We encourage users to combine the free-to-access Nature Index data with information from other sources.

2.0 How to use the Nature Index website

2.1 Date range

The Nature Index website presents a 12-month rolling window of data. The window includes primary research articles from the Nature Index journals that are published in their final form during the 12-month period. The window is updated on a monthly basis. The date range is displayed in the top-right corner of all pages.

2.2 Searching for a specific institution or country

You can search for a specific institution or country from the Nature Index homepage.

  • Begin typing your query in the search box to generate a list of suggested institutions or countries.
  • Select the institution or country.
  • Click ‘Go’.

A Research Profile page will be generated that lists research outputs within the current 12-month date range by article count (AC), fractional count (FC) and weighted fractional count (WFC) (see Section 3.4).

Research outputs are organized by subject area.

  • Click on the subject area to drill-down into a list of outputs organized by journal, and then by article title.
  • Click article titles to display article-level information including complete affiliation details, altmetric.com data and links to the version of record on the publisher’s website.

Selecting the Collaboration Profile page displays the institution’s or country’s patterns of publication collaboration, including a list of top collaborators.

2.3 Ordering research outputs by institution

You can generate a table of institutions ordered by research outputs.

  • Click on the ‘Institution outputs’ window on the Nature Index homepage.
  • Using the drop-down menus, choose the region or country of interest, filter by subject area or journal group, and select the sorting method.
  • Click ‘Generate’.

Tables can be re-sorted by clicking on the column headings.

The order of output of institutions can differ significantly depending on the measure used to order them (AC, FC or WFC). There are many factors determining an institution’s output. The size of the institution is a major factor as is the composition of research specialities within an institution. The Nature Index does not attempt to normalize data for such factors. Rather it presents raw data that can be used as a basis for analysis.

2.4 Ordering research outputs by country

You can generate a table of countries ordered by research outputs.

  • Click on the ‘Country output’ window on the Nature Index homepage.
  • Using the drop-down menus, choose the region of interest, filter by subject area or journal group, and select the sorting method.
  • Click ‘Generate’.

Tables can be re-sorted by clicking on the column headings.

3.0 The Nature Index methodology

3.1 How have articles been selected for inclusion in the Nature Index?

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group (n=68; see Section 4.0) of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The 68 journals included in the first release of the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Two panels of scientists are responsible for selection of journals: one drawn from the physical sciences, the other from the life sciences.

  • Chair of Physical Sciences Panel: John Morton, London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, UK
  • Chair of Life Sciences Panel: Yin-Biao Sun, British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow, Randall Division, Kings College, London, UK

The composition and total number of journals included in the Nature Index will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

3.2 Why is the Nature Index based on articles from 68 journals?

The researcher panels who selected the journals have aimed initially for fewer than 100 titles — enough to provide inclusivity of many disciplines but sufficiently selective to ensure that the journals truly reflect the upper tiers of research achievement as judged by peers. The 68 journals included in the first release of the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals. The composition and total number of journals included in the Nature Index will be reviewed on a regular basis.

3.3 What data is held in the Nature Index?

The Nature Index database captures all affiliation information of primary research articles published within the selected journals, plus links to the abstracts of those articles, and stores whole article counts and fractional article counts (see Section 3.4) for each article. Sitting behind the snapshot of data published on the website is a database containing the English names, local language names and acronyms of the 43,000+ institutions and 8,500+ parent institutions associated with articles tracked by the Nature Index.

3.4 How is article output counted?

Article output is counted in three ways:

  1. Article count (AC): where a count of one is assigned to an institution or country if one or more authors of the research article are from that institution or country, regardless of how many co-authors there are from outside that institution or country.
  2. Fractional count (FC): that takes into account the percentage of authors from that institution (or country) and the number of affiliated institutions per article. For calculation of the FC, all authors are considered to have contributed equally to the article. The maximum combined FC for any article is 1.0.
  3. Weighted fractional count (WFC): a modified version of FC in which fractional counts for articles from specialist astronomy and astrophysics journals have been down weighted. These journals encompass a much larger proportion of the total publication output of these fields than any other field covered by the Nature Index. The WFC allows ordering of institutions and countries so as not to give undue emphasis to these fields. The weighting is achieved by multiplying the fractional count from these astronomy and astrophysics journals by a factor of 0.2. This down weighting is in proportion to an approximation of the level to which astronomy and astrophysics articles are overrepresented compared to the total publication output of other fields covered by the Nature Index.

The ratio of AC to FC gives an indication of the degree to which an institution or country collaborates in its research. Broadly speaking, if the AC is a lot higher than the FC it indicates a high degree of external collaboration and dependency on external resources. If the AC is close in value to the FC it indicates limited collaboration with external researchers and a strong dependency on internal resources.

3.5 Does the Nature Index include all articles from the selected journals? Are all articles treated equally?

Only primary research articles from the selected journals are included in the Nature Index. For a small number of large physics journals only primary articles identified by the journals as having higher importance, more urgency or more interest for the community are included: notably, articles classified as ‘Highlighted articles’ or ‘Rapid Communications’ from Physical Review A, Physical Review B and Physical Review D.

All articles are treated equally when ordering institutions and countries by AC or FC. When ordering by WFC, the exception are the articles from specialist astronomy and astrophysics journals which are down weighted (see Section 3.4).

3.6 Institutional database

The Nature Index search function enables you to find the results for a specific institution among the 8,500+ parent institutions tracked by the Nature Index. Great care has been taken to disambiguate institutional names and to aggregate the multiple versions of names for the same institution that can occur. Furthermore, every effort has been made to include all affiliated institutions within larger institutional organizations and, where possible, a breakdown of those component institutions is also given. We are open to suggestions of ways to improve presentation of complex institutions and their affiliations.

4.0 The Nature Index journals

The current 12-month window on natureindex.com includes data from primary research articles from the following science journals:

  • Advanced Materials (1061 articles)
  • American Journal of Human Genetics (191 articles)
  • Analytical Chemistry (1589 articles)
  • Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2495 articles)
  • Applied Physics Letters (2859 articles)
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics (1828 articles)
  • Cancer Cell (111 articles)
  • Cell (380 articles)
  • Cell Host & Microbe (111 articles)
  • Cell Metabolism (127 articles)
  • Cell Stem Cell (104 articles)
  • Chemical Communications (2918 articles)
  • Chemical Science (915 articles)
  • Current Biology (411 articles)
  • Developmental Cell (168 articles)
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters (590 articles)
  • Ecology (95 articles)
  • Ecology Letters (126 articles)
  • European Physical Journal C (668 articles)
  • Genes & Development (175 articles)
  • Genome Research (154 articles)
  • Geology (173 articles)
  • Immunity (168 articles)
  • Inorganic Chemistry (1456 articles)
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry (2144 articles)
  • Journal of Cell Biology (229 articles)
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation (314 articles)
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (815 articles)
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (487 articles)
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (422 articles)
  • Journal of High Energy Physics (2164 articles)
  • Journal of Neuroscience (1067 articles)
  • Journal of the American Chemical Society (2367 articles)
  • Molecular Cell (250 articles)
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (3792 articles)
  • Nano Letters (786 articles)
  • Nature (860 articles)
  • Nature Biotechnology (103 articles)
  • Nature Cell Biology (123 articles)
  • Nature Chemical Biology (151 articles)
  • Nature Chemistry (168 articles)
  • Nature Communications (3370 articles)
  • Nature Genetics (188 articles)
  • Nature Geoscience (163 articles)
  • Nature Immunology (134 articles)
  • Nature Materials (202 articles)
  • Nature Medicine (152 articles)
  • Nature Methods (135 articles)
  • Nature Nanotechnology (160 articles)
  • Nature Neuroscience (191 articles)
  • Nature Photonics (118 articles)
  • Nature Physics (219 articles)
  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (139 articles)
  • Neuron (322 articles)
  • Organic Letters (1669 articles)
  • PLOS Biology (111 articles)
  • Physical Review A (86 articles)
  • Physical Review B (324 articles)
  • Physical Review D (61 articles)
  • Physical Review Letters (2400 articles)
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2859 articles)
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B (336 articles)
  • Science (650 articles)
  • The Astrophysical Journal (1669 articles)
  • The Astrophysical Journal Letters (397 articles)
  • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement (100 articles)
  • The EMBO Journal (93 articles)
  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (762 articles)

5.0 Regions

  • Africa

    • Algeria
    • Angola
    • Benin
    • Botswana
    • Burkina Faso
    • Burundi
    • Cameroon
    • Cape Verde
    • Central African Republic
    • Chad
    • Comoros
    • Congo
    • Djibouti
    • Egypt
    • Equatorial Guinea
    • Eritrea
    • Ethiopia
    • Gabon
    • Gambia
    • Ghana
    • Guinea
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Ivory Coast
    • Kenya
    • Lesotho
    • Liberia
    • Libya
    • Madagascar
    • Malawi
    • Mali
    • Mauritania
    • Mauritius
    • Mayotte
    • Morocco
    • Mozambique
    • Namibia
    • Niger
    • Nigeria
    • Reunion
    • Rwanda
    • Sao Tome and Principe
    • Senegal
    • Seychelles
    • Sierra Leone
    • Somalia
    • South Africa
    • Sudan
    • Swaziland
    • Tanzania
    • Togo
    • Tunisia
    • Western Sahara
    • Uganda
    • Zambia
    • Zimbabwe
  • Asia Pacific

    • Australia
    • Bangladesh
    • Bhutan
    • Brunei
    • Cambodia
    • China
    • Cook Islands
    • East Timor
    • Fiji
    • French Polynesia
    • India
    • Indonesia
    • Japan
    • Kiribati
    • Laos
    • Malaysia
    • Maldives
    • Marshall Islands
    • Micronesia
    • Mongolia
    • Myanmar
    • Nauru
    • Nepal
    • New Zealand
    • Niue
    • North Korea
    • Palau
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Philippines
    • Samoa
    • Singapore
    • Solomon Islands
    • South Korea
    • Sri Lanka
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand
    • Tokelau
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu
    • Vietnam
    • Wallis and Futuna Islands
  • Europe

    • Albania
    • Andorra
    • Armenia
    • Austria
    • Belarus
    • Belgium
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Faroe Islands
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Kosovo
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Macedonia
    • Malta
    • Moldova
    • Monaco
    • Montenegro
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Russia
    • San Marino
    • Serbia
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Ukraine
    • United Kingdom (UK)
    • Vatican City State (Holy See)
  • North America

    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Aruba
    • Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Canada
    • Costa Rica
    • Cuba
    • Dominica
    • Dominican Republic
    • El Salvador
    • Greenland
    • Grenada
    • Guadeloupe
    • Guatemala
    • Haiti
    • Honduras
    • Jamaica
    • Martinique
    • Mexico
    • Netherlands Antilles
    • Nicaragua
    • Panama
    • Saint Kitts and Nevis
    • Saint Lucia
    • Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
    • St. Pierre and Miquelon
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United States of America (USA)
  • South America

    • Argentina
    • Bolivia
    • Brazil
    • Chile
    • Colombia
    • Ecuador
    • Guyana
    • Paraguay
    • Peru
    • S. Georgia and S. Sandwich Isls.
    • Suriname
    • Uruguay
    • Venezuela
  • Western Asia

    • Armenia
    • Afghanistan
    • Azerbaijan
    • Bahrain
    • Georgia
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Israel
    • Jordan
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kuwait
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Lebanon
    • Oman
    • Palestine
    • Pakistan
    • Qatar
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Syria
    • Tajikistan
    • Turkey
    • Turkmenistan
    • United Arab Emirates
    • Uzbekistan
    • Yemen

6.0 Subjects/journal groups

  • Chemistry

    • Advanced Materials
    • Analytical Chemistry
    • Angewandte Chemie International Edition
    • Chemical Communications
    • Chemical Science
    • Inorganic Chemistry
    • Journal of the American Chemical Society
    • Nano Letters
    • Nature (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Chemical Biology
    • Nature Chemistry
    • Nature Communications (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Materials
    • Nature Nanotechnology
    • Organic Letters
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Science (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences

    • Earth and Planetary Science Letters
    • Ecology
    • Ecology Letters
    • Geology
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    • Nature (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Communications (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Geoscience
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Science (only articles classified in this subject area)
  • Life Sciences

    • American Journal of Human Genetics
    • Cancer Cell
    • Cell
    • Cell Host & Microbe
    • Cell Metabolism
    • Cell Stem Cell
    • Current Biology
    • Developmental Cell
    • Ecology
    • Ecology Letters
    • Genes & Development
    • Genome Research
    • Immunity
    • Journal of Biological Chemistry
    • Journal of Cell Biology
    • Journal of Clinical Investigation
    • Journal of Neuroscience
    • Molecular Cell
    • Nature (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Biotechnology
    • Nature Cell Biology
    • Nature Chemical Biology
    • Nature Communications (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Genetics
    • Nature Immunology
    • Nature Medicine
    • Nature Methods
    • Nature Neuroscience
    • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
    • Neuron
    • PLOS Biology
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Proceedings of the Royal Society B
    • Science (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • The EMBO Journal
  • Physical Sciences

    • Advanced Materials
    • Applied Physics Letters
    • Astronomy & Astrophysics
    • European Physical Journal C
    • Journal of High Energy Physics
    • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    • Nano Letters
    • Nature (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Communications (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Materials
    • Nature Nanotechnology
    • Nature Photonics
    • Nature Physics
    • Physical Review A
    • Physical Review B
    • Physical Review D
    • Physical Review Letters
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Science (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • The Astrophysical Journal
    • The Astrophysical Journal Letters
    • The Astrophysical Journal Supplement