Sci-Bytes> Ranks for Nature and Science by Citation Impact, 2000-2010

Week of April 3, 2011

<BACK ¦ 2011 ¦ HOME
 
Field Nature
Rank
Nature
Papers
Citation
Impact
Science
Rank
Science
Papers
Citation
Impact
Astronomy/Astrophysics 2 682 55.72 3 559 52.61
Biochemistry 4 1,263 148.12 3 938 153.80
Chemistry 1 537 207.04 2 1,019 183.52
Clinical Medicine 1 898 262.36 2 581 258.02
Environment/Ecology 2 402 135.68 3 405 119.80
Geosciences 2 1,162 62.02 1 1,138 75.79
Immunology 2 295 217.67 3 265 175.51
Materials Science 3 65 157.92 1 121 180.27
Microbiology 1 342 154.54 2 400 131.57
Molecular Biology 2 1,743 146.00 3 1,339 144.97
Neuroscience 3 742 138.82 2 738 155.32
Physics 1 1,161 155.87 3 882 142.51
Plant/Animal Science 3 625 106.05 2 550 109.46
Psychiatry/Psychology 3 61 80.28 1 95 91.06
Social Sciences 1 65 50.63 2 80 35.42
Source: Thomson Reuters Essential Science IndicatorsSM database, January 1, 2000 - December 31, 2010.

That Nature and Science are influential journals is not news, but the extent of their influence across almost all fields of scientific research may be.

The table above lists the ranks for both journals according to citations per paper, or citation impact, in those fields in which they published 50 or more papers during the period 2000-2010. In all fields listed, either Nature or Science frequently took the top spot, and both in all cases managed a rank of fourth or higher. Such performance is all the more remarkable since review journals were not excluded from the analysis, and review journals benefit in terms of citation impact measures by fielding a type of article that, on average, is more cited than ordinary research papers.

All in all, the two journals are remarkably similar. During the period, Nature published 10,974 articles and reviews, whereas Science published 9,728 articles and reviews ( Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters publication and citation data on articles and reviews only). Of Nature’s output, 3,850 items achieved highly cited status, meaning that for their field and year the papers ranked in the top 1% by total citations. Science’s number of highly cited papers was 3,562. The percentages of their output classified as highly cited, therefore, were 35.08% and 36.62%, respectively. Essential Science Indicators currently lists 98,912 highly cited papers, so Nature produced 3.89% and Science produced 3.60% of the world’s most influential articles in the last 11 years. That two (relatively thin) journals can claim 7.49% of all highly cited papers is indeed noteworthy.

If one were forced to name the winner between the two journals in this photo finish race, considering the ranks each earned, it’s Nature “by a nose.”

To classify papers in these and other multidisciplinary journals into fields, Essential Science Indicators employs an algorithm that examines the journals that cite a paper and the journals that a paper cites. For example, if the majority of the citations to a paper published in a multidisciplinary journal come from neuroscience journals and the majority of the cited references in the paper are to neuroscience journals, the paper will be assigned to neuroscience. Using this method, approximately 95% of papers in Nature and Science can be assigned to a specific field.

See Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters for more information.

This item also appeared in the Times Higher Education magazine.

 
 

   |   BACK TO TOP