Field Rankings for India, 2000-2010

March 2011
Week of March 20, 2011

Indian research in the sciences and social sciences has improved markedly over the past decade. Publication and citation indicators derived from the internationally influential, peer-review journals indexed by Thomson Reuters for its Web of Knowledge® database reveal that since 2000 output has increased from some 16,000 papers to 40,000, world share has risen from 2.2% to 3.4%, and citation impact has improved from 40% to nearly 60% of the world average. While that means that Indian research still underperforms in per-paper influence compared with other nations, the gains represented by the se statistics are noteworthy. India’s impressive recent rise, after a period of stagnation in the 1980s and 1990s, was documented and discussed in a 2009 Global Research Report on India (view all) from Thomson Reuters, by analysts Jonathan Adams, Christopher King, and Vinay Singh.

The table below is sorted by relative citation impact. Source: Thomson Reuters Essential Science IndicatorsSM database, January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2010.

India’s
Rank
by
Relative
Impact
Field India
Papers
India
Citations
India
Citations
Per Paper
World
Citations
Per
Paper
Percent
India Compared
to
World
Percent
Highly Cited
from
India
1 Engineering 26,861 107,459 4.00 4.76 - 16 2.81
2 Computer Science 4,417 13,275 3.01 3.75 - 20 0.99
3 tie Materials Science 21,860 119,071 5.45 7.03 - 22 1.77
3 tie Physics 31,592 221,149 7.00 8.97 - 22 2.60
5 Psychiatry/Psychology 746 5,623 7.54 11.26 - 33 0.04
6 Chemistry 64,903 451,536 6.96 11.19 - 38 1.70
7 Pharmacology 8,106 58,878 7.26 12.20 - 40 1.19
8 Mathematics 5,282 10,627 2.01 3.48 - 42 0.66
9 tie Economics/Business 1,098 3,902 3.55 6.22 - 43 0.37
9 tie Social Sciences 2,844 7,577 2.66 4.67 - 43 0.31
11 Environment/Ecology 7,471 47,367 6.34 11.35 - 44 1.44
12 Astronomy/Astrophysics 3,382 25,969 7.68 14.30 - 46 1.34
  * All Fields 279,116 1,610,511 5.77 10.81 - 47 1.15
13 Geosciences 8,978 43,558 4.85 9.70 - 50 0.93
14 Agricultural Sciences 11,928 38,633 3.24 7.05 - 54 1.84
15 Clinical Medicine 28,220 164,902 5.84 12.93 - 55 0.43
16 Biochemistry 15,188 116,488 7.67 17.25 - 56 0.51
17 Microbiology 4,891 32,274 6.60 15.79 - 58 0.60
18 Plant/Animal Sciences 20,652 65,591 3.18 7.74 - 59 0.89
19 Immunology 1,792 15,282 8.53 21.81 - 61 0.00
20 tie Molecular Biology 3,938 36,843 9.36 25.62 - 63 0.28
20 tie Neuroscience 2,961 21,125 7.13 19.47 - 63 0.27
From Thomson Reuters Essential Science IndicatorsSM database, January 1, 2000 - December 31, 2010.

For the period 2000-2010, India ranked 11th in output, 17th in citations received, and 34th in citations per paper (among nations publishing 50,000 or more papers during the period) across the science and social sciences fields surveyed in Essential Science Indicators. The table above ranks fields for India by relative citation impact, that is, citations per paper for India in a field compared with the world’s citations per paper score in the same field. India’s percentage below the world average for each field is presented in the column at far right. Articles were assigned to a field based on the journals in which they were published and a journal-to-field scheme used by Thomson Reuters. Papers published in multidisciplinary journals such as Science and Nature were assigned, paper-by-paper, to specific fields. Both articles tabulated (articles and reviews) and citation counts to those articles are for the entire 11-year period.

The table focuses on relative citation impact by field and relates these data to the percentage of the world’s highly cited papers (those in the top 1% by citations, considering the field and year of publication of each paper) by Indian scientists (listed in the column at far right). Not supplied here, but relevant to the analysis, is the world share by field for India. Across all fields in the period 2000–2010, India held a 2.8% share (as noted, it has reached 3.4% in the most recent year). The fields in which India held the highest world share for 2000–2010, in order, were: agricultural sciences (5.8%), chemistry (5.4%), materials science (4.8%), pharmacology (4.4%), plant and animal sciences (3.7%), physics (3.6%), engineering (3.3%), and geosciences (3.2%) — all higher than India’s overall 2.8% share.

By combining world share data, relative impact, and India’s percentage share of highly cited papers by field, the following can be noted: materials science would seem to be India’s leading area, with high world share, high relative impact, and a larger than expected share of the world’s highly cited papers in the field; next come engineering and physics, for which India held a higher than expected world share and high relative impact and percentage of the world’s highly cited papers; and chemistry, the second ranked field for India by world share, turned in a significantly higher than expected performance in relative impact and percentage of highly cited papers.

Pharmacology was a solid performer: better than average in world share, relative impact, and percentage of highly cited papers. Agricultural sciences, highest for India in world share, exhibited low relative impact but, interestingly, a high percentage of the world’s highly cited papers in the field, which might be interpreted as indicating much work with marginal impact topped by that of a group of world-class researchers.

Plant and animal sciences, on the other hand, is a field for which India was high in world share but a poor performer in relative impact and percentage of highly cited papers. Computer sciences and psychiatry/psychology are highly ranked in the table above, but by virtue of small numbers: world share for India in these fields was small, as was India’s percentage of highly cited papers in these two fields.

In summary, India’s research portfolio, in broad terms, shows strength in the physical sciences, despite many resources being dedicated to agricultural sciences and plant and animal sciences.

See Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters for more information.

This item also appeared in the Times Higher Education magazine.

The data and citation records included in this report are from Thomson Reuters Web of ScienceTM. Web of ScienceTM is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.