SINGAPORE scientists are the region's most prolific when it comes to writing papers for the prestigious Nature journals.
They contribute more articles per head than their counterparts in any other Asia-Pacific country - allowing the Republic to punch above its weight when it comes to research.
The Nature group of publications covers mainly the physical, chemical and life sciences. Last year, Singapore put out 1.9 papers per 1,000 researchers, compared with 0.43 papers in Japan.
But when the country's size was removed from the equation, the Republic came in fifth in the region, behind Japan, China, Australia and South Korea. Similarly, Singapore was ranked 19th in the world in terms of the absolute number of papers it produces.
The rankings were revealed in the annual Nature Publishing Index 2011 Asia-Pacific report, which keeps track of research articles in the Nature group of journals.
Within Singapore, more universities and other institutions are contributing to these publications.
Ten did so last year, up from just three in 2009.
The new contributors include the Singapore Eye Research Institute, the National Cancer Centre Singapore and the DSO National Laboratories.
'Both the number of institutions included in the index and the size of their contributions are expected to grow in the coming years, as Singapore's considerable investment in research and development bears fruit,' said the report.
The National University of Singapore was the 16th most prolific in the region, while the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) was 32nd. Nanyang Technological University leapt 13 spots to 33rd.
A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said Singapore's high rankings reflect its institutions' 'deep scientific capabilities'.
'Excellent basic science provides the foundation for our research, innovation and enterprise efforts, and our aspiration to become Asia's innovation capital,' he added.