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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Japan tops the Nature- ranking index

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Nature, one of the most reputed research journals that have the highest impact factor has ranked China’s research out put as of high quality. The ranking by Nature has been done on the basis of number of research papers published in Nature and its sister publications that is updated on weekly basis. 
The information comes from a press release entitled “Japan, China and Australia shine in Nature- Asia –Pacific Publishing Index” (http://www.nature.com/press_releases/pubindex.html) that has been posted in the site of the journal. According to the release, that scientific researches in China are developing fast and researches of high quality are being done in the country.

The Nature Asia Pacific Publishing Index shows that Japan published 232 articles in Nature and its group of publications during 2009. This number was highest pushing Japan on the first place. Australia with 98 research papers published in Nature and its group of publications stands on the second place. China could publish 93 articles and as such it stands on the third place. However, the number of authors from China in papers published in Nature and its group of publications is more than that of Australia. In 1998, as per the release, China could publish only 3 papers in Nature and its group of publications but it went more than three times ahead of the previous year with the publication of 93 papers, and it is remarkable. Indian authors could publish only 14 research papers in Nature and its sister publications and stood at the seventh place. Some scholars are of the opinion that Nature has its own specific criteria for publication, and if a paper is not accepted by the journal for publication, it does not at all mean that the research is of inferior quality.

It is already confirmed that the quality of research for a paper to be accepted in a journal like Nature has to be of high standard and publication of 93 papers in Nature three times higher than publication in the previous year, is itself a proof of the research works of high quality. Thus a ranking system which is based on number of research papers published in high impact journals can serve as an indirect way of quality assessment of researches done in a country.

In ranking the University of Tokyo tops the list with 71 publications to its credit. The Chinese Academy of Sciences comes 5th with 44 papers. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore could publish only three papers. From the index it is reflected that there is a paucity of quality research in Indian Universities. It is again confirmed with the fact that only two universities of India came in the rank list where as many Chinese universities occupy their places in the list. I wish to quote directly some lines from the release here as a ready reference to our readers-

The data demonstrates the recent strong growth in output of high quality scientific research from China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1998, China published just three articles in Nature and the Nature Research journals and, while the number of Nature-branded primary research journals has since doubled, the number of articles from China has increased 30 fold
At an institutional level, six of the top ten institutions in the 2009 rankings are in Japan. The University of Tokyo leads the table with 68 articles, followed by Kyoto University, Osaka University, RIKEN and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Index only covers Nature and the Nature research journals, so while it offers broad coverage of basic research in the life sciences, physical and chemical sciences, coverage of applied sciences, engineering and clinical medicine is relatively limited, and so the index should be used primarily as an indicator of strength in high quality basic research.

"We are delighted to be launching the index which is updated weekly alongside the print supplement that summarizes results for 2009" says David Swinbanks, NPG Publishing Director for the Asia-Pacific region.
"With the index users can drill down to find the abstracts of papers on which the index rankings are based and the weekly updating provides a means to keep track of where and in what fields and from which institutions and individual researchers some of the hottest basic research in the region is emerging."

"The index is fully transparent and institutions, countries and individual researchers are free to use the data on the website for their own analysis and interpretations provided they acknowledge and link to the source."

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