US institutions hold their own in the index

140 institutions in the United States have spent five consecutive years in the Nature Index top 500.

19 September 2017

Smriti Mallapaty

DIGITAL STOCK

Making it into the Nature Index top 500 is no easy feat. To get there, institutions have to outperform 10,000 research centres based in 165 countries in their contribution to the natural sciences journals tracked by the index. Yet some institutions manage to assert their position year-on-year. The majority of these proven performers are based in the United States.

Of the 423 institutions that have held a position in the annual tables every year since 2012, 140 are in the US, 48 in Germany, 45 in China and 30 in the United Kingdom.

Nine institutions have maintained a position in the top 10 for five consecutive years: Harvard University, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, the Max Planck Society and Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres in Germany, the University of Cambridge in the UK, The University of Tokyo in Japan, the French National Centre for Scientific Research in France and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China.

With all but six of China's 45 top stayer institutions of the past five years having improved their performance since 2012, the US lead might not last for long. Between 2012 and 2016, East China Normal University jumped up the rankings from 369 to 174, Sichuan University rose from 293 to 126, and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences went from 202 to 72.

Data analysis by Bo Wu and Aaron Ballagh

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