An Empirical Look at the Nature Index

2015-10-16T14:18:15Z (GMT) by Lutz Bornmann Robin Haunschild
<p>In November 2014, the Nature Index (NI) was introduced (see http://www.natureindex.com) by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG). The NI is comprised of the primary research articles published in the past 12 months in a selection of reputable journals. Starting from two short comments on the NI (Haunschild & Bornmann, 2015a, 2015b), we undertake an empirical analysis of the NI using comprehensive country data. We investigate whether the huge efforts of computing the NI are justified and whether the size-dependent NI indicators should be complemented by size-independent variants. The analysis uses data from the Max Planck Digital Library in-house database (which is based on Web of Science data) and from the NPG. In a first step of analysis, we correlate the NI with other metrics which are simpler to generate than the NI. The resulting very large correlation coefficients point out that the NI produces very similar results as simpler solutions. In a second step of analysis, relative and size-independent variants of the NI are generated which should be additionally presented by the NPG. The size-dependent NI indicators favor large countries (or institutions) and the top-performing small countries (or institutions) do not come into the picture.</p>