Measuring up 2018 is a five-year bibliometric analysis of the scientific publication output of Australian health and medical research, focusing on research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Measuring up 2018 analyses the publication output of NHMRC health and medical research funding from 2008 to 2012. This report is the latest in a series of bibliometric studies, first published in 1996, of the outputs of NHMRC research funding. The report follows the methodology used in the previous bibliometric report, Measuring up 2013, which covered publications from 2005 to 2009.
The findings in the report show continuing strong performance by Australian health and medical research overall and by NHMRC-supported research in particular. For example:
- Australia’s share of the world biomedical journal publication output was 3.6% in 2008–2012, up from 3.1% in 2005–2009.
- The number of publications attributed to NHMRC-supported research has increased since the last reporting period: from 20,960 in 2005–2009 to 29,523 in 2008–2012. This represents an increase in output of 41%. In the same period, world output grew by 18%—less than half NHMRC’s rate—and Australia’s overall publications output grew by 39%.
- The NHMRC-supported scientific journal publications rate within the Australian total has remained constant at 31%. This equates to just over 1% of the world’s output in this area.
- One-third of publications from the Hospitals, Non-profit, and Universities sectors and two-thirds from the Research Institutes sector were linked to NHMRC support.
- NHMRC support contributed to a large proportion of total Australian publications in the following sub-fields:
- Immunology (55%)
- Biochemistry and Cell Biology (45%)
- Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology (41%)
- Neurosciences (41%)
- Oncology and Carcinogenesis (40%)
- The relative citation impact of NHMRC-supported journal publications is 1.68, that is, 68% above the world average (up from 1.60 in the previous reporting period). Non-NHMRC-supported research in Australia is 1.12, that is, 12% above the world average.
- NHMRC-supported publications account for approximately three times more publications than expected among the top 1% of cited papers in the world.
- Approximately 45% of Australia’s most highly cited publications (defined as the top 1% in the world) are attributed to NHMRC support. This is noteworthy given that NHMRC-supported publications represent only 31% of the total Australian publication output.
- 42% of NHMRC-supported publications had international co-authors from over 135 countries.
Bibliometric analysis involves many variables and should not be used to draw conclusions selectively or in isolation from other measures.
There are some differences in methodology between this report and the previous 2013 report, mainly the addition of six NHMRC grants schemes, providing a more complete coverage of NHMRC-funded research. These new schemes have contributed to the overall increase in NHMRC-supported publication output.