From January to December 2022, China had a Share of 19,373 among the 82 journals tracked by the Nature Index, compared to 17,610 for the United States.

For the first time, China has surpassed the United States to take the top spot among nations or territories for contributions to research articles that were published in the prestigious natural-science journals that make up the Nature Index group.

From January to December 2022, China had a Share of 19,373 among the 82 journals tracked by the Nature Index, compared to 17,610 for the United States.

A country’s Share accounts for the proportion of authors from that country on each paper published in Nature Index journals; a paper with all authors from China would result in a Share of 1 for that country.

Since the Nature Index was launched in 2014, China’s Share has been gaining ground quickly and was the top nation in chemistry and physical sciences in 2021.

According to the most recent data, China may have also surpassed the United States for the first time in Earth and environmental sciences, leaving only one category of natural sciences—life sciences—in which it still lags behind.

Numerous scientific performance indicators have been pointing to a shift in the national balance of global science since the middle of the 2010s. According to data from the US National Science Foundation, China published the most papers in 2018.

A report from Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy found that between 2018 and 2020, Chinese research outperformed US research in terms of its representation in the top 1% of the most frequently cited papers.

Therefore, it appears likely that China will surpass the United States in terms of metrics that are meant to measure quality, such as assessments of citation counts.

The Nature Index tracks journals chosen by an independent group of researchers who are actively publishing, with the goal of representing a consensus of the top journals in the natural sciences, even though it does not evaluate citations. (The news and supplement content of Nature Index is editorially separate from that of its publisher, Springer Nature.)

China has surpassed the United States in terms of top-cited papers, according to research by Caroline Wagner, an expert in science and policy at Ohio State University in Columbus.

She continues by pointing out that China still lags behind other countries in terms of its ability to absorb and apply knowledge, and that it is unclear what effect its research collaborations with some important nations’ declining numbers will have.

The most widely cited works from China are produced in collaboration with other countries, particularly the United States. Denis Simon, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes that the Chinese government is looking to “deepen” the nation’s research capabilities in order to increase China’s independence. The depth of US capability across the board, regardless of the field, is what sets the United States apart from China.

China is still far behind the United States in terms of Count, which is the total number of articles in the database with at least one author from a particular country, according to the Nature Index data.

During the same January to December 2022 time period, the United States had a count of almost 25,200 articles, while China had a count of just over 23,500.

In two major multidisciplinary journals included in the Index, Nature and Science, the United States had a Share of 786, much higher than China’s 186.

The 2023 Nature Index annual tables, due for release in mid-June, will provide a full breakdown of the institutions that have helped to propel China to the top in Share last year.

The tables will also feature, for the first time, data on publications in a set of high-quality medical journals that will be added to the Nature Index, so that users can also track trends in the health sciences.