First Nature Index Germany published

The Max Planck Society clearly placed in top position

November 30, 2020

Germany retains its position as one of the world’s research giants according to the first Nature Index Germany compiled by Nature Research. The journal cites strong steady science funding as well as long-term investment in basic research as the key to the country’s success. However, a lack of diversity and slow adaptation to contemporary research directions could challenge Germany’s prolific research record going forward. In 2020, women accounted for just 19.4% of senior academic staff and the proportion of female start-up founders in Germany was just 15.4%. Against this background, the article about Max Planck Vice President Asifa Akhtar makes for particularly pertinent reading. However, the analysis also shows how the Clusters of Excellence have helped attract international researchers to the country.

For the Nature Index, an institution’s number of articles published in prestigious scientific journals are counted. The selection of the journals is made by an independent panel of international experts. In order to measure institutional performance, the Index takes into account the number of articles published in top journals (“Count”) as well as the share of authorship on each article (“Share”). The total Share available per article is 1, which is shared among all authors under the assumption that each contributed equally. For instance, an article with 10 authors means that each author receives a Share of 0.1. For authors who are affiliated with more than one institution, the author’s Share is then split equally between each institution. The total Share for an institution is calculated by summing the Share for individual affiliated authors.

Within Germany, three non-university research institutions hold the top positions in the Nature Index: the Max Planck Society, followed by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the Leibniz Association. The two Munich universities are ranked 4th and 5th.

The TOP 10 German research institutions in the Nature Index:

The Max Planck Society also ranks first in the research fields of chemistry, physics, and the life sciences. Only in the area of earth and environmental sciences does it cede its top position to the Helmholtz Association

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