These 10 countries top the ranks in chemistry research

Where the best chemistry takes place.

12 December 2019

Gemma Conroy

ERIC CABANIS/AFP via Getty Image

Aurelien Bancaud, an award-winning chemist from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). CNRS is one of the most prolific institutions in chemistry in the Nature Index.

For the first time, China has taken the Nature Index crown as the biggest producer of high-quality research in chemistry, knocking the United States down to second place.

China’s chemistry output has grown by 17.9% since 2017, to achieve an impressive Share of 6,183.75 in 2018. Its output is almost double the collective Share of its Asian neighbours in the top 10: Japan, South Korea, and India.

Share, formerly referred to in the Nature Index as Fractional Count (FC), is a measure of an institution’s contribution to articles in the 82 journals tracked by the index.

After taking the top spot in chemistry for three years in a row, the US fell behind China in 2018 with a Share of 5,371.32, representing a 6.2% drop from the previous year.

While the eight other nations in the top 10 have maintained their places since 2017, all except Spain have seen declines in their chemistry output.

Japan is the fourth most prolific country in high-quality chemistry publishing, with a Share of 1,388.14. But it had the largest decrease in output among the top 10 countries between 2017 and 2018, dropping by 12.6%.

The United Kingdom took the fifth spot, with a Share of 1,023.58 – a 10.8% decrease since 2017.

Holding its own in tenth place, Spain showed signs of growth in chemistry research publishing, with its Share rising by 1.3% between 2017 and 2018.

Below are the top 10 countries in chemistry in the Nature Index.

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