Asia-Pacific nations in chemistry, 2000-2010

March 24, 2011

The Asia-Pacific region has become the dominant producer of research papers in chemistry. It now contributes some 43 per cent of those published in the internationally influential journals indexed by Thomson Reuters. While the Asia-Pacific world share in the field has more than doubled in the past three decades (up from 19 per cent in 1981), those of the European Union and the US have dropped significantly since the mid-1990s and now stand at 32 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Much of the Asia-Pacific region’s dramatic rise can be attributed to China, where output in chemistry has increased from a world share of 0.3 per cent in 1981 to just over 20 per cent now. But while China takes the spotlight in terms of increased output, within the region it is Singapore that excels in terms of research impact as measured by average citations to its chemistry papers.

The table above lists the Asia-Pacific nations that published at least 3,000 papers in chemistry journals from 2000 to 2010 and ranks them by citations per paper. This weighted measure allows for the analysis of larger and smaller producers together. Despite its relatively small production, Singapore tops the ranking. At 12.83 citations each, its papers were cited at a level 15 per cent above the world average of 11.19. That also earned the country the rank of 12th globally. During the period measured, Singapore published 100 chemistry papers that qualified as highly cited, meaning that for their field and year of publication they ranked in the top 1 per cent by total citations. Of the papers, the National University of Singapore published 64, the Nanyang Technological University 29 and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research institutes (A*STAR), including the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Institute of Microelectronics and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, published 23 (the total is more than 100 owing to co-authorship). The establishment of the A*STAR research institutes and the production of these 100 highly cited papers undoubtedly did much to increase the citation impact of Singapore in the field, from 7 per cent below the world average at the beginning of the decade to 24 per cent above the benchmark currently.

For this analysis, data were extracted from the Essential Science Indicators database of Thomson Reuters. This database, currently covering the period January 2000-December 2010, surveys only articles (original research reports and review articles) in journals indexed by Thomson Reuters. Articles are assigned to a field based on the journals in which they were published and Thomson Reuters’ journal-to-field scheme. Papers published in multidisciplinary journals such as Nature and Science are assigned to fields on an article-by-article basis. Both articles tabulated and citation counts for those articles are for the period indicated. For articles with multiple authors from different nations, each nation receives full, not fractional, publication and citation credit.

Chemistry research has been, and will continue to be, a common subject in these pages during 2011, the International Year of Chemistry.

For more information, see

Asia-Pacific nations in chemistry, 2000-2010
Data provided by Thomson Reuters from its Essential Science Indicators, 1 January 2000-31 December 2010
A-P rankWorld rankNations Papers Citations Citations per paper
112 Singapore 7,596 97,454 12.83
216 Australia 19,131 237,923 12.44
319 Japan115,760 1,363,434 11.78
423 New Zealand 3,257 34,755 10.67
524 South Korea36,557 360,424 9.86
626 Taiwan20,041 186,746 9.32
737 Thailand 3,955 ,730 7.01
838 India64,903 451,536 6.96
939 China181,496 1,245,602 6.86
1045 Malaysia 5,365 22,461 4.19
  World1,197,020 13,394,419 11.19

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