Bibliometric indicators reflect publication and management strategies

Henk F. Moed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In a bibliometric study of nine research departments in the field of biotechnology and molecular biology, indicators of research capacity, output and productivity were calculated, taking into account the researchers' participation in scientific collaboration as expressed in co-publications. In a quantitative approach, rankings of departments based on a number of different research performance indicators were compared with one another. The results were discussed with members from all nine departments involved. Two publication strategies were identified, denoted as a quantity of publication and a quality of publication strategy, and two strategies with respect to scientific collaboration were outlined, one focusing on multi-lateral and a second on bi-lateral collaborations. Our findings suggest that rankings of departments may be influenced by specific publication and management strategies, which in turn may depend upon the phase of development of the departments or their personnel structure. As a consequence, differences in rankings cannot be interpreted merely in terms of quality or significance of research. It is suggested that the problem of assigning papers resulting from multi-lateral collaboration to the contributing research groups has not yet been solved properly, and that more research is needed into the influence of a department's state of development and personnel structure upon the values of bibliometric indicators. A possible implication at the science policy level is that different requirements should hold for departments of different age or personnel structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-346
Number of pages24
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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