China overtakes Japan in NPI rankings

Updated: 2014-03-27 16:04

By Zhu Lixin (

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For many years, science in the Asia-Pacific region has been dominated by Japan, but China is now on pace to catch up.

China is on track to become the dominant scientific power in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the editors of the Nature Publishing Index 2013 Asia-Pacific, published on Thursday Beijing time.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government agency comprising of over 100 research centers, knocked the University of Tokyo off the top of the NPI institutional rankings for the first time.

"The country has accomplished much in 2013," Nature said, considering the country's progress in scientific strength.

"The progress was from one angle a result of the country's increasing attention and investment in sciences," said Yu Shuhong, a professor with the University of Science and Technology of China.

Chinese scientists lead the way in publishing more papers in Nature journals than Japan or any other Asia-Pacific nation.

The nation's output of published papers is now the second-highest in the world, following only the United States, with its total paper citations ranking fifth-highest, following the US, Germany, the UK and Japan, according to Luo Xisheng, director of the office of science and technology at the USTC.

"Quality and total output of papers should have equal importance attached, while pursuit of more original innovation should be the main task of Chinese scientists," said Yu, who serves as an editor for several well-known Chinese and international journals.

The top 10 Chinese research institutions for NPI output were also released, with the CAS, the USTC and Tsinghua University in the first three places.

The 2013 Asia-Pacific NPI is based on publication output in Nature and 17 Nature research journals for the period from Jan 1, 2013, to Dec 31, and offers insight and analysis into the performance of all Asia-Pacific nations and territories appearing in the Index during that time.