The International Benchmarking Study of UK Research Performance2009 put UK scientists second only to the US in their share ofjournal citations.
The survey, by the independent company Evidence UK, used datafrom 8,000 scientific journals in 85 languages.
It compared UK science against that of 25 other countries,including the G8.
This was the sixth annual benchmarking survey commissioned bythe UK government.
It looked at 40 separate scientific indicators and revealed thatthe UK ranks first among G8 nations on the ratio of citations topublic spending.
The minister for science and innovation, Lord Drayson, told BBCNews that the report reflected the UK’s focus on quality ratherthan quantity.
“This is an opportunity for us to pat ourselves on the back as anation. It is no coincidence that Cambridge University, forexample, has had more Nobel Prize winners than any otherinstitution on the planet.
“It reflects the real strength that we have here in the UK.We’ve got to make sure that we maintain it.”
The study found that the UK produced 91,723 scientific papers -just under 8% of the world’s total, and third only to the US andChina.
In the last year UK scientists also had an almost 12% share ofcitations in science journals across the world, and increased theirshare of the most cited papers by 1% to 14.4%.
The survey also revealed a rise in the number of papersco-authored with researchers in other countries, which tend to becited more frequently than papers authored solely by UKacademics.
It also highlights a four-fold increase in the number of papersproduced by China over the past decade.
China now produces more scientific papers than the UK but theyare cited less frequently by other scientists.
The UK is particularly strong in clinical, health, biologicaland environmental sciences.
Overall, UK scientists produce a quarter of the papers by EUresearchers.