Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New citation indicators needed to measure research performance

12.02.2013
How do you compare the impact of a researcher in chemistry or physics with a molecular biologist who may be working on similar projects?
In an article published today in EMBO reports two experts support the use of citation indicators that are based on percentiles, a statistical parameter that allows for comparisons with a carefully defined group of reference data. Journal impact factors and h-index alone do not make the grade.

“We argue that new citation impact indicators are needed and that these indicators should allow the comparison of the observed impact for a given publication set with a reference set of similar publications,” said Lutz Bornmann, a sociologist of science at the Division for Science and Innovation Studies at the Max Planck Society in Munich, Germany. “This is a better way to make meaningful assessments of scientific work.” He added: “Indicators must also take into account that the distribution of citations across papers is often skewed. The use of percentiles described in our paper provides a solution.”

A scientific paper and its citation in other papers reveal how science makes progress and can help to establish the credit for new discoveries. Citation indicators are used extensively to evaluate the impact of the research of individual scientists, institutes and university departments, and sometimes even countries. The outcomes of such analyses can have a profound influence on the careers of scientists or, for example, the future funding of research institutes.

The authors of the study emphasize that journal impact factors and h-index, two frequently used parameters to evaluate the quality and quantity of science, do not readily allow for comparisons between the work of different scientists or publications in journals from unrelated research fields. The problem is similar to comparing the performance of individuals who score goals in sports as different as football and handball. The number of goals in football is often around 2 but in handball can reach 20 or more. Is someone who scores an average of five goals in handball a better athlete than a football player who scores one goal a game?

“Experts of bibliometrics avoid using journal impact factors and the h-index because these indicators do not provide normalized values. For many years, they have been using reference sets to normalize the number of citations which is indispensable for fair assessment,” commented Werner Marx, co-author of the paper and head of the Information Retrieval Services at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany. “The use of this type of advanced analysis is growing. However, we have an opportunity to do more and this could have a big impact on the way we answer important questions such as how good research really is.”

How good is research really? Measuring the citation impact of publications with percentiles increases correct assessments and fair comparisons

Lutz Bornmann, Werner Marx

Read the paper:

doi: 10.1038/embor.2013.9
http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/embor20139a.html
Further information on EMBO reports is available at http://www.nature.com/embor

Media Contacts
Barry Whyte
Head | Public Relations and Communications

Yvonne Kaul
Communications Offer
Tel: +49 6221 8891 108/111
communications@embo.org

About EMBO
EMBO is an organization of more than 1500 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

Yvonne Kaul | EMBO
Further information:
http://www.embo.org

Further reports about: EMBO life science research performance

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations
19.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A gene activated in infant and young brains determines learning capacity in adulthood
13.11.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

Im Focus: Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components

Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.

DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gravitational waves will settle cosmic conundrum

15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Spintronics by 'straintronics'

15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Platinum nanoparticles for selective treatment of liver cancer cells

15.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>