The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has claimed there are positive signs for the nation's team ahead of Rio 2016 following the results of its latest benchmark study.

The research, which ranks nations by their overall medal tally from the year, sees Australia moving into sixth place with 42 medals - 13 gold, 12 silver and 17 bronze.

Ahead of them is China on top of the table with 79 medals, followed by the United States with 66, Russia with 60, and Germany and Great Britain both with 45.

Australia is seventh on the gold medal tally, behind China with 31, the US with 28, France with 19, Russia on 16, Japan on 15 and Germany on 14.

They are also a due one extra bronze medal, in athletics - which is not included in the study as the results are not available until the end of December - thanks to Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Dani Samuels finishing the year ranked third in the world in women's discus.

"The results are very encouraging...we are still a long way from Rio but they point to us building towards a successful Games," said AOC President and International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates.

"Twelve months ago we were sitting on 34 medals, 8 gold, 19 silver and seven bronze".

Just two months ago, Australia was in eighth position on 27 medals, but recent outstanding performances in swimming saw that tally increase by 15 medals - seven gold, four silver and four bronze.

Britain, France and Japan will all improve when the end year athletics' rankings are released, it is acknowledged, with France moving past Australia to sixth and Japan drawing equal on seventh in total medals, while maintaining their lead over Australia in gold.

"We are lower on the gold medal tally, but remain hopeful our athletes will convert some of the 29 silver and bronze medals into gold come 2016," Coates added.

"A top five finish is an aspirational goal and we unashamedly strive to be back up there with the best again.

"Our hockey men and women are at the top of their game [two medals].

"Our cyclists continue to perform [six medals].

"Sailing is maintaining its results from London 2012 [four medals], rowing [four medals], canoe/kayak [three medals] and diving and shooting [two each].

"We are optimistic when it comes to the new sports, golf and rugby sevens and as always our women's basketball team is up there with the best.

"Twenty sixteen may also see our very talented men's basketball team reach the podium."

Australia expects to send at least 470 athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which is due to take place from August 5 to 21.

The nation ranked 10th overall at the London 2012 Games, with a total of 35 medals - seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze.

It was their lowest performance since Seoul 1988, when they had finished 15th.