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 82 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
    7. 3.7 Sectors
  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 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index is updated monthly, and a 12-month rolling window (1 August 2017 - 31 July 2018) of data is openly available at www.natureindex.com under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. The Nature Index also releases annual tables of country- and institution-level calendar-year output back to 2015, as well as an archive of the annual tables released in previous years.

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?
  • Which institutions and countries are collaborating with each other in high quality research, what is the strength of their collaborations and how is that changing over time?

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, as well as country- and institutional-level tables of calendar-year output, are 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.

The annual tables are based on calendar-year output in the Nature Index journals. These are released annually and are based on output from 1 January to 31 December of the previous year.

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) and fractional count (FC) (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 or FC). 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=82; 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 journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Two panels of independent 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, Professor of Nanoelectronics/Nanophotonics, London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, UK
  • Chair of Life Sciences Panel: Tracey Chapman, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK

The composition and total number of journals included in the Nature Index is reviewed on an ongoing basis, with the latest list of 82 journals expanded from 68 journals in June 2018 (see Revisions to the Nature Index).

3.2 Why is the Nature Index based on articles from 82 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 (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals (see Introducing the Index). The composition and total number of journals included in the Nature Index is reviewed on a regular basis, with the current revised list of 82 journals released in June 2018. The revision and expansion of the Nature Index journals encompasses a number of changes since the original release, including better representation of each of subjects covered in the nature index (4-5% of articles in the Web of Science) and the inclusion of new journals that were not available when the index was first released. For more information on the selection of Nature Index journals, see Revisions to the Nature Index.

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 90,000+ institutions and 9,000+ parent institutions associated with articles tracked by the Nature Index.

3.4 How is article output counted?

Article output is counted in two 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.

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; and articles classified as ‘Letters’ from Astronomy and Astrophysics.

All articles are treated equally when ordering institutions and countries by AC or FC.

3.6 Institutional database

The Nature Index search function enables you to find the results for a specific institution among the 9,000+ 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.

3.7 Sectors

Institutions in the Nature Index are assigned to one or more sectors based on the type of institution, and are categorised into one or more of the following sectors:

  • Academic (e.g. universities)
  • Corporate (e.g. private companies)
  • Government (e.g. government research facilities)
  • Healthcare (e.g. hospitals, healthcare companies)
  • NPO/NGO (foundations)

Academic: An academic institution is an educational institution dedicated to education and research, which grants academic degrees, such as universities.

Corporate: A corporation is a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law with the goal to earn profit. (Independent) consultants are also considered as corporate.

Government: A government funded organization whose primary mission is the performance or promotion of basic research and/or applied research.

Healthcare: Health care (or healthcare) is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Nature Index uses the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification as a basic framework for defining the institutions in the healthcare sector. The UN categorizes health care as generally consisting of hospital activities, medical and dental practice activities, and "other human health activities". The last class involves activities of, or under the supervision of, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, scientific or diagnostic laboratories, pathology clinics, residential health facilities, or other allied health professions, e.g. in the field of optometry, hydrotherapy, medical massage, yoga therapy, music therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, chiropody, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.

NPO/NGO: a non-profit organization (NPO) is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends. Charitable organizations such as a foundation are a type of NPO. A non-governmental organization (NGO) is the term commonly used for an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business and are usually set up by ordinary citizens. Both NGOs and NPOs may be funded by governments, foundations, businesses, or private persons.

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:

  • ACS Nano (1235 articles)
  • Advanced Functional Materials (1090 articles)
  • Advanced Materials (1229 articles)
  • American Journal of Human Genetics (134 articles)
  • Analytical Chemistry (1858 articles)
  • Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2473 articles)
  • Applied Physics Letters (2490 articles)
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics (52 articles)
  • Cancer Cell (129 articles)
  • Cancer Research (412 articles)
  • Cell (382 articles)
  • Cell Host & Microbe (129 articles)
  • Cell Metabolism (147 articles)
  • Cell Stem Cell (98 articles)
  • Chemical Communications (2703 articles)
  • Chemical Science (968 articles)
  • Current Biology (445 articles)
  • Developmental Cell (184 articles)
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters (583 articles)
  • Ecology Letters (146 articles)
  • Environmental Science and Technology (1418 articles)
  • European Physical Journal C (971 articles)
  • Genes & Development (134 articles)
  • Genome Research (169 articles)
  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (302 articles)
  • Geology (302 articles)
  • Geophysical Research Letters (1193 articles)
  • Immunity (143 articles)
  • Inorganic Chemistry (1533 articles)
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry (1717 articles)
  • Journal of Cell Biology (348 articles)
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation (278 articles)
  • Journal of Experimental Medicine (200 articles)
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (705 articles)
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (529 articles)
  • Journal of High Energy Physics (1938 articles)
  • Journal of Neuroscience (847 articles)
  • Journal of the American Chemical Society (2403 articles)
  • Macromolecules (946 articles)
  • Molecular Cell (320 articles)
  • Molecular Psychiatry (80 articles)
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters (224 articles)
  • Nano Letters (1042 articles)
  • Nature (729 articles)
  • Nature Biotechnology (79 articles)
  • Nature Cell Biology (114 articles)
  • Nature Chemical Biology (126 articles)
  • Nature Chemistry (134 articles)
  • Nature Climate Change (118 articles)
  • Nature Communications (4789 articles)
  • Nature Genetics (154 articles)
  • Nature Geoscience (127 articles)
  • Nature Immunology (87 articles)
  • Nature Materials (136 articles)
  • Nature Medicine (156 articles)
  • Nature Methods (112 articles)
  • Nature Nanotechnology (137 articles)
  • Nature Neuroscience (145 articles)
  • Nature Photonics (90 articles)
  • Nature Physics (154 articles)
  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (115 articles)
  • Neuron (324 articles)
  • Organic Letters (1826 articles)
  • PLOS Biology (254 articles)
  • PLOS Genetics (507 articles)
  • Physical Review A (235 articles)
  • Physical Review B (859 articles)
  • Physical Review D (145 articles)
  • Physical Review Letters (2595 articles)
  • Physical Review X (274 articles)
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (3460 articles)
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B (563 articles)
  • Science (694 articles)
  • Science Advances (842 articles)
  • Science Translational Medicine (219 articles)
  • The Astrophysical Journal Letters (545 articles)
  • The EMBO Journal (224 articles)
  • The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology (243 articles)
  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (990 articles)
  • The Plant Cell (193 articles)
  • Water Research (611 articles)
  • eLife (1353 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
    • Macromolecules
    • 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)
    • Science Advances (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences

    • Earth and Planetary Science Letters
    • Ecology Letters
    • Environmental Science and Technology
    • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    • Geology
    • Geophysical Research Letters
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    • Nature (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Nature Climate Change
    • 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)
    • Science Advances (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Water Research
  • Life Sciences

    • American Journal of Human Genetics
    • Cancer Cell
    • Cancer Research
    • Cell
    • Cell Host & Microbe
    • Cell Metabolism
    • Cell Stem Cell
    • Current Biology
    • Developmental Cell
    • Ecology Letters
    • eLife
    • Genes & Development
    • Genome Research
    • Immunity
    • Journal of Biological Chemistry
    • Journal of Cell Biology
    • Journal of Clinical Investigation
    • Journal of Experimental Medicine
    • Journal of Neuroscience
    • Molecular Cell
    • Molecular Psychiatry
    • 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
    • PLOS Genetics
    • 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)
    • Science Advances (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • Science Translational Medicine
    • The EMBO Journal
    • The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
    • The Plant Cell
  • Physical Sciences

    • ACS Nano
    • Advanced Functional Materials
    • Advanced Materials
    • Applied Physics Letters
    • Astronomy & Astrophysics
    • European Physical Journal C
    • Journal of High Energy Physics
    • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
    • 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
    • Physical Review X
    • 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)
    • Science Advances (only articles classified in this subject area)
    • The Astrophysical Journal Letters