The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot came in third globally for research quality in natural science according to a new normalized ranking conducted by the Nature Index 2019. The index is published annually by the peer-reviewed Nature International Journal of Science.
The standardized ranking, in which Weizmann ranked 65, draws on both the article count (AC), which measures the number of articles published by an institution and the fractional count, which measures the contribution an institution makes to an article. The data is drawn from 82 high-quality natural science journals, chosen by an independent group of researchers. In contrast, the normalized ranking allows smaller institutions to be ranked alongside larger ones as it shows “what share of an institution’s research output in the natural sciences has been judged high quality,” according to Nature
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“Size is not everything,” the journal said in a press release on Wednesday. “Some smaller institutes are punching above their weight.”
The normalized ranking listed Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the US, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel as the top three.
“The inclusion this year of a normalized ranking alongside the standard Nature Index annual tables is especially interesting because the ranking draws to light some smaller institutes that are proportionally outstripping research powerhouses and would otherwise remain buried much lower down in the standard rankings. The smallest institutions in the top ten have some common features: ambition, as disclosed by mission statements about striving to be the best in the world, interdisciplinarity, with the strong embrace of collaboration across fields, and in several cases, the backing of Nobel laureates,” said David Swinbanks, founder of the Nature Index, in a press release.
Weizmann Institute President Daniel Zajfman said: “We have known for a long time that size is irrelevant when it comes to excellence in science. For the Weizmann Institute of Science, striving to be the best involves attracting the best scientists and letting them follow their curiosity. Interdisciplinarity and collaboration across fields and across countries are simply part of our DNA, and we are proud of that fact. The Nature Index normalized ranking truly showcases the quality of top research, showing you don’t have to be big to be on the cutting edge of global science.”
Among the other Israeli institutions in the standard tables, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ranked 115, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (IIT) came in 119, Tel Aviv University ranked 181, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ranked 311, and Bar-Ilan University was 388.
Also in the standard rankings, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in China, Harvard University in the US, and the Max Planck Society in Germany came in first, second, and third respectively