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New York is shaping up to be a biotech hub, reports Nature Index’s Science Cities supplement, among other insights

New York, 18 October 2017

The Nature Index 2017 Science Cities supplement, published today, reveals that New York is poised for a boom in the life sciences. While the city is rich with talent in the discipline, less money has historically been invested in New York-based companies because the city’s high costs and a lack of lab space have made it difficult for start-ups to thrive.

Now, with the development of incubators offering shared equipment and mentorship for new companies, as well as new sources of funding, New York may be able to support a transformation into a bustling biotech hub. Indeed, of the total authorship contribution by the city’s researchers to high-quality papers in the Nature Index, 60% fell within the life sciences.

The finding is one of several key insights reported in the Nature Index 2017 Science Cities supplement, which explores the high-quality research in the natural sciences being produced by 10 cities chosen for their strong scientific credentials, metropolitan atmosphere, and global ties. In addition to New York, the supplement explores the changing scientific landscapes in London, with possible complications of Brexit approaching; in Spain, including Barcelona and Madrid, amid talks about independence in Catalonia; in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, where scientific output continues to grow; and in South Korea, including the capital Seoul and its rival science city Daejeon, which is experiencing a research boom.

“In 2016, the top 10 metropolises accounted for 17% of the global total research output, which is 17 times their global population weight,” said David Swinbanks, founder of the Nature Index. “Nature Index’s Science Cities supplement sheds light on what these most impactful research cities are doing to foster their scientific communities, so institutions and other local organizations in those cities and beyond can continue to create supportive environments that advance discovery and innovation.”

In New York, more than 100 institutions based in the city contribute to the high-quality natural science journals included in the Nature Index. New York-based institutions attracted about $1.1 billion in funding from the United States National Institutes of Health in 2017. In the past few years alone, advances in precision medicine, the development of new treatments for hepatitis C, and discoveries about the microbiome have only been possible due to the ingenuity of scientists at New York-based institutions.

In addition to identifying key research trends in the featured cities, the supplement also identifies the top 10 institutions in each, including New York’s Columbia University in the City of New York; New York University; The Rockefeller University; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Mount Sinai Health System; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Weill Cornell Medical College; Cornell University; The City University of New York; Pfizer Inc.; and IBM Research.

More information about the Nature Index is available at

Further Information:

About the Nature Index

First launched in November 2014, the Nature Index database tracks the author affiliations of research articles published in a group of 68 high-quality natural science journals, which have been selected by independent panels of active scientists.
Responses from over 2,800 individuals to a large scale survey were used to validate the selections. Springer Nature estimates that these 68 journals account for nearly 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

A rolling 12-month window of Nature Index data is made available openly under a Creative Commons license at, allowing users to analyse research outputs from, and collaboration among, 8,000 institutions and 150 countries. On the index website, an institution's output of articles organised by broad subject area can be viewed across the most recent 12 month period. International and domestic collaborations are shown for each institution. The website also presents annual league tables of institutions and countries going back to 2012. Upon free registration of the website, users are able to plot longitudinal trends in output for institutions and countries, and export raw data for further analysis.

The Nature Index uses four counts of article output:

  • Article count (AC) - A country or institution is given an AC of 1 for each article that has at least one author from that country or institution. This is the case whether an article has one or a hundred authors, and it means that the same article can contribute to the AC of multiple countries or institutions.
  • Fractional Count (FC) - FC takes into account the relative contribution of each author to an article. The maximum FC per paper is 1, and this is shared between all authors under the assumption that each contributed equally. For instance, each author on a paper with 10 authors would receive a FC of 0.1.
  • Weighted Fractional Count (WFC) - applies a weighting to FC to adjust for an overrepresentation of papers from astronomy and astrophysics. The four journals in these disciplines publish about 50% of all papers in international journals in this field — approximately five times the equivalent figures for other fields. Therefore, although the data for astronomy and astrophysics are compiled in exactly the same way as for all other disciplines, articles from these journals are assigned one-fifth the weight of other articles.
  • Collaboration score (CS) - The collaborative effort between two institutions, or two countries, is known as a bilateral collaboration score. This is the sum of the FCs from papers with authors from both institutions. The collaborative effort of an individual institution is measured by an average collaboration score. This is the average of the FCs for all the bilateral relationships for that institution. If institution A has relationships with two others, B and C, then the collaboration score is average of the FC for A + B and A + C.

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About Nature Research

Nature Research is a portfolio of high-quality products and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences – including journals, databases and researcher services – dedicated to serving the scientific community.

Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading, international weekly journal of science. Nature Research also publishes a range of Nature branded subscription journals, the leading open access multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications, other open access journals including Scientific Reports, and a range of Nature Partner Journals published in partnership with institutions and societies. Together, these journals publish some of the world's most significant scientific discoveries.

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Lauren Kuhn
Communications Manager, USA, Springer Nature
T: 212-451-8865

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