The present study analyzes bibliometric characteristics of Taiwan's highly cited papers published from 2000 to 2009. During this period, Taiwan ranked within the top 30 countries by number of highly cited papers, defined in Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators (ESI) as those that rank in the top 1 % by citations for their category and year of publication. Taiwan made notable progress in world-class research in the two consecutive 5-year periods 2000–2004 and 2005–2009. For the group of highly cited papers from Taiwan, USA, China, Germany, and Japan were the top collaborating countries over the decade. In recent years, Taiwan has increasingly collaborated with European countries whose output of highly cited papers is relatively high and increasing, rather than with its neighboring countries in Asia. Overall, Taiwan produced highly cited papers in all the 22 ESI subject categories during the 10-year period. Taiwan's output of highly cited papers was greatest in the categories of Engineering, Clinical Medicine, and Physics, while those in Agricultural Sciences and Mathematics exceeded the expected output level in relative terms. More detailed analyses would be useful for a holistic understanding of Taiwan's research landscape and their progress in world-class research, combining both bibliometric and non-bibliometric data, such as researcher mobility, research grants, and output from internationally-collaborated research programs.
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