The most-cited nations

Data provided by Thomson Reuters from its National Science Indicators, 2005-09

June 17, 2010

 Nation Total papersCited papersPer cent citedRelative indexImpact rank
1Denmark 50,224 37,394 74.45 1.17 2
2Switzerland 96,306 70,517 73.22 1.15 1
3Netherlands 131,977 96,446 73.08 1.15 4
4Sweden 91,209 66,454 72.86 1.14 7
5Scotland 56,154 40,475 72.08 1.13 3
6England 360,910 256,640 71.11 1.12 6
7Finland 45,702 32,460 71.03 1.11 11
8United States 1,575,254 1,118,591 71.01 1.11 5
9Belgium 73,141 51,697 70.68 1.11 8
10Norway 38,900 ,339 70.28 1.10 13
11Germany 406,217 282,071 69.44 1.09 9
12Canada 243,121 167,964 69.09 1.08 12
13Austria 49,712 34,259 68.91 1.08 10
14Italy 228,510 156,347 68.42 1.07 16
15Australia 160,917 109,802 68.24 1.07 18
16Israel 56,701 38,610 68.09 1.07 14
17New Zealand 30,398 20,591 67.74 1.06 20
18France 291,495 196,259 67.33 1.06 15
19Ireland 25,371 16,974 66.90 1.05 17
20Spain 183,542 121,934 66.43 1.04 19
21Japan 388,706 257,510 66.25 1.04 22
22Singapore 36,288 23,603 65.04 1.02 21
23Portugal 34,797 22,456 64.53 1.01 24
24Hungary 26,529 16,970 63.97 1.00 23
25Greece 46,821 29,767 63.58 1.00 25
26Argentina 30,6 18,996 62.74 0.98 26
Czech Republic 36,679 22,715 61.93 0.97
28South Africa 29,168 17,726 60.77 0.95 28
29Taiwan 100,232 59,842 59.70 0.94 31
30South Korea 157,045 90,842 57.84 0.91 29
31Mexico 40,914 23,130 56.53 0.89 32
32Poland 81,561 45,609 55.92 0.88 30
33China 486,025 1,482 55.86 0.88 33
34Brazil 118,239 64,701 54.72 0.86 34
35India 162,100 87,512 53.99 0.85 35
36Turkey 88,223 47,089 53.37 0.84 36
37Iran 44,988 22,071 49.06 0.77 38
38Ukraine 21,869 10,047 45.94 0.72 40
39Russia 131,081 59,0 45.22 0.71 37
40Romania 20,349 9,038 44.41 0.70 39
There are many measures that one can – and should – use to gauge national research performance. The table above ranks nations that produced 20,000 or more papers (articles and reviews) from 2005 to 2009 by their percentage of cited papers by the end of last year. Naturally, papers published in 2009 were less cited than those published in the earlier part of the five-year period. The longer that one permits citations to accrue, the higher the percentage cited will be. Thus, one should not conclude from the figures above that about 40 per cent of Taiwan’s papers are never cited – only that 60 per cent of the basket of papers from this five-year period were cited. It is simply a statistic to be used for comparisons.

Denmark, ranked first by this measure, saw 74.45 per cent of its 2005-09 papers receive at least one citation by the end of the period. This was 17 per cent above the world average, as indicated in the relative index column (where 1.00 represents the world average). Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland rank second to fifth. By no means do the largest producers, such as the US (eighth) or China (33rd), dominate.

The final column shows the rank of each nation by its 2005-09 citation impact, which allows for a comparison of the relationship between the measure of per cent cited and citations per paper. The two measures, as can be seen, are related. Citedness represents another performance metric indicative of excellence.

The UK as a whole exhibited a 70.89 per cent citation score for the period. In terms of regions, the European Union, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East earned percentage-cited scores of 66.87, 60.05, 56.45 and 56.04, respectively, which correspond to relative index scores of 1.05, 0.94, 0.89 and 0.88.

For more information, see http://science.thomsonreuters.com/products/nsi

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