National bibliometric report released

By Shaun Hendy 05/07/2010

MoRST has released its national bibliometric report covering papers published during the years 2002-7. The team from MoRST and the Royal Society that put the report together used the Scopus database.  The major findings include:

• The rate and impact of New Zealand publications has increased during the period 2002-2007. This is especially so in the Tertiary Education sector, which appears to be associated with changes to Tertiary Sector research funding.

I looked at the rate of publication in a previous post (New Zealand’s recent bibliometric productivity) and have recently had a paper published in the New Zealand Association of Scientists’ journal, the New Zealand Science Review, ’New Zealand’s bibliometric record in research and development: 1990-2008’ [1], available here.

The MoRST report reaches similar conclusions to mine, except that I was not as confident that the introduction of the Performance Based Research Fund for the universities has driven the change in citation impact, as it seems to have occurred in the CRIs as well.

• While the impact of New Zealand publications is generally average for an OECD nation, there are certain disciplines (especially in the medical sciences) where New Zealand research has a higher than average impact. This is the same as in previous bibliometric findings.

Here are the top five subjects by citation impact relative to the OECD according to the report:

Nat Report - top five
This type of calculation is a bit more difficult for me to do, because I have access to a different type of data set than the researchers at MoRST and the Royal Society.  Nonetheless, you can do something similar using the Scimago website.  For instance, if you are pleasantly surprised that Physics and Astronomy make the top five, you can use Scimago to see where New Zealand ranks in Physics and Astronomy by sorting by citations per document in a country comparison of papers.  As you can see below, New Zealand ranked ninth in citations amongst countries which publish more than 100 per year for Physics and Astronomy papers published between 1996-2008:

It’s always nice to be ahead of Australia!

• New Zealand is a cost effective place to do research. It has a comparatively high rate of publication per dollar of R&D expenditure.

This is also consistent with my findings on patents, where New Zealand appears to produce more patents per dollar than a number of other countries.  The figure below (taken from the report) shows that Kiwis are very cost effective indeed, although productivity per researcher FTE is middle of the road.   Bibliometric efficiency

My data shows that neither of these measures has changed much in New Zealand over the last twenty years.  Productivity (in papers per FTE) and publications per dollar have remained static.  As I suggest here and in my NZ Science Review article, the national increase in publication rates has been driven by increases in researcher FTE in the tertiary sector.

There is plenty of other material in the report to talk about, including some nice network diagrams illustrating collaborations between institutions.  Also, the authors have made some institutional comparisons of citation impact.  I will comment on that in a future post.

[1] S. C. Hendy ’New Zealand’s bibliometric record in research and development: 1990-2008’, New Zealand Science Review 67, 56-59 (2010).

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