Press release

China boosts top quality science publications by 35% in 2012

29 May 2013

Authors based in China contributed 8.5% of all research papers published in Nature branded journals in 2012, up 35% on 2011 figures. This is according to the Nature Publishing Index 2012 (NPI) China, published today as a supplement to Nature. Authors from institutions in China contributed 303 papers published in Nature branded journals in 2012, up from 7.0% (225) in 2011 and 5.3% (152) in 2010. In 2000, just six articles published in Nature branded journals had co-authors from institutions in China.

The data released in the NPI adds to evidence that China is rapidly boosting its quality research output, and becoming a global leader in scientific publishing and scientific research. A global analysis will be released in June 2013, and China is expected to have made gains in 2012 against nations that traditionally lead in scientific outputs.

The supplement offers insights into how national investments, institutions and cities have contributed to China’s rapid scientific expansion.

The top two institutions remain stable from 2011 to 2012: the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) leads, followed by the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) complete the top five. In sixth place, BGI was a strong performer in 2012, up from tenth in 2011. An analysis in the NPI indicates that SJTU and Zhejiang University (seventh in 2012, up from 11th in 2011) are rapidly growing their high quality research output. The NPI also provides indicators that China, traditionally strong in physical sciences, is making gains in high quality life sciences research.

The Nature Publishing Index 2012 China supplement also presents a ranking by city. Beijing continues to dominate, followed strongly by Shanghai. Hefei, Hong Kong and Wuhan round out the top five cities.

The NPI measures the output of research articles from nations and institutes in terms of publications in the 18 Nature-branded primary research journals in 2012. The Nature Publishing Index 2012 China supplement is available online at and is published as a supplement to Nature today. The ranking is a snapshot based on papers published in 2012, with 2008–2011 data also included to show trends. The index, updated weekly, is available at


Nature Publishing Group press contacts:
Grace Baynes
Head of Corporate Communications, Nature Publishing Group
T: +44 (0)20 7014 4063
Lydia Chen
Communications Specialist, China, Macmillan Science & Education
T: :+86 (0)212422 5021

Notes on the Nature Publishing Index:
The Nature Publishing Index (NPI) results should be used with some caveats. It is based only on the publication output in Nature and the 17 Nature research journals. So while it offers a broad coverage of basic research in the life sciences, physical and chemical sciences, the attention to applied sciences, engineering and clinical medicine is relatively limited. The NPI should be used primarily as an indicator of strength in high quality basic research. It does not weight multiple factors in the way that other rankings do, such as the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities or the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
The output of an institution or country obviously depends on its size. Some institutions have very large numbers of researchers that help drive up their rankings. So it is important to take into account the numbers of researchers in an institution or country when interpreting the results.

About Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a publisher of high impact scientific and medical information in print and online. NPG publishes journals, online databases and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences and clinical medicine.
Focusing on the needs of scientists, Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading weekly, international scientific journal. In addition, for this audience, NPG publishes a range of Nature research journals and Nature Reviews journals, plus prestigious academic journals including society-owned publications. Online, provides more than 6 million visitors a month with access to NPG publications and online databases and services, including news and comment from Nature, NatureJobs plus Nature Network and Nature Education's
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