India placed second among ten countries with highest increase in contribution to high-quality research

News - December 2016

New Delhi: Springer Nature, a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, today presented its Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars report in India. It places India second among the ten countries with the highest absolute increase in their contribution to high-quality research publications between 2012 and 2015.

The Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars supplement identifies the countries and institutions showing the most significant growth in high-quality research publications over the four years between 2012 and 2015. These are the emerging research powers to watch. Rising Stars uses the power of the Nature Index, which tracks the research of more than 8,000 global institutions published in a group of 68 high-quality natural science journals, which have been independently selected by scientists.

Speaking at a conclave titled “Research and Innovation in Science for Sustainable Development of India” held today, Derk Haank, Chief Executive Officer of Springer Nature, introduced the report to an audience comprising partners from the research, science and education communities, business leaders and government representatives. The conclave, organised by Springer Nature, brought together this diverse audience for a thought-provoking discussion on the role of science and innovation in supporting sustainable development in India.

“India’s emergence as one of the world’s largest economies is being reflected by its increasing contribution to the world’s high-quality research publications, as the Nature Index Rising Stars has shown. Springer Nature has enjoyed long historical ties with India and we are excited about the future of high-quality research here. We look forward to deeper engagement with both the government and the science, research and education community” said Mr. Haank.

While India makes its mark, the index finds that it is Chinese institutions that are leading the world in rapidly increasing high-quality research outputs. 40 of the top 100 highest performers across the globe are from this scientific powerhouse, with 24 of those showing growth above 50% since 2012. The United States – which remains the largest contributor to high-quality scientific papers overall – is second, with 11 entrants into the top 100 despite many starting from a high base. Nine institutions feature from the United Kingdom, eight from Germany and four from India.

The four institutions from India among the top 100 featured in the index are the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Chemistry made up more than half (51%) of India's scientific contributions to the index in 2015. 36% was from physical sciences, 9% from life sciences and 4% from earth and environmental sciences.

China spent 1.4 trillion yuan (approximately $ 209 billion) on research and development (R&D) in 2015, or 2.1% of GDP. India, in comparison, currently spends around 1% of its GDP on R&D.

About Springer Nature

Springer Nature is a leading global research, educational and professional publisher. Springer Nature is the world's largest academic book publisher, publisher of the world's most influential journals and a pioneer in the field of open research. The company numbers almost 13,000 staff in over 50 countries. Springer Nature was formed in 2015 through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media.

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About the Nature Index

First launched in November 2014, the Nature Index database tracks the author affiliations of research articles published in a group of 68 high-quality natural science journals, which have been selected by panels of active scientists, independently of Nature Research.

Responses from over 2,800 individuals to a large scale survey were used to validate the selections. Springer Nature estimates that these 68 journals account for nearly 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

A rolling 12-month window of Nature Index data is made available openly under a Creative Commons license at, allowing users to analyse research outputs from 8,000 institutions and 150 countries. On the index website, an institution's output of articles organised by broad subject area can be viewed across the most recent 12 month period. International and domestic collaborations are shown for each institution. The website also presents annual league tables of institutions and countries going back to 2012. Upon free registration of the website, users are able to plot longitudinal trends in output for institutions and countries, and export raw data for further analysis.

Article output is counted in three ways:

  1. Article count (AC): where a count of one is assigned to an institution or country if one or more authors of the research article are from that institution or country, regardless of how many co-authors there are from outside that institution or country.
  2. Fractional count (FC): that takes into account the percentage of authors from that institution (or country) and the number of affiliated institutions per article. For calculation of the FC, all authors are considered to have contributed equally to the article. The maximum combined FC for any article is 1.0.
  3. Weighted fractional count (WFC): a modified version of FC in which fractional counts for articles from specialist astronomy and astrophysics journals have been down weighted. These journals encompass a much larger proportion of the total publication output of these fields than any other field covered by the Nature Index. The WFC allows ordering of institutions and countries so as not to give undue emphasis to these fields. The weighting is achieved by multiplying the fractional count from these astronomy and astrophysics journals by a factor of 0.2. This down weighting is in proportion to an approximation of the level to which astronomy and astrophysics articles are overrepresented compared to the total publication output of other fields covered by the Nature Index.

More information about the Nature Index is available at