Top research universities in the Nature Index

Harvard University holds the top academic spot for five years straight.

11 September 2017

Smriti Mallapaty

NATUREWOLRD / Alamy Stock Photo

For the fifth consecutive year, Harvard University has topped the list of universities with the largest output in the natural sciences journals tracked by the Nature Index. Harvard's contribution to the share of authorship in the index, measured by weighted fractional count (WFC), was 750 in 2016, outperforming more than 3,500 institutions based in 138 countries around the world.

Harvard's WFC, however, represents a fall of more than 16% in its contribution since 2012, a trend followed by many universities. In the past year, all but one of the top 10 academic research institutes have reduced their output in the index. The exception is the University of Oxford, with a WFC of 396.8 in 2016, up 4.6% from 2015.

Peking University enters the top 10 for the first time in 2016, jumping from 29th position in 2012 to 9th in 2016, and Yale University makes a comeback at 10th place. The two institutions replace the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Diego in the United States.

The University of Tokyo's contribution to the share of authorship in the index fell by 22.1% between 2015 and 2016 — the largest drop in the top ten — to a WFC of 380.2.

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