The holy grail of science policy: Exploring and combining bibliometric tools in search of scientific excellence

Thed N. Van Leeuwen, Martijn S. Visser, Henk F. Moed, Ton J. Nederhof, Anthony F.J. Van Raan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evaluation studies of scientific performance conducted during the past years more and more focus on the identification of research of the 'highest quality', 'top' research, or 'scientific excellence'. This shift in focus has lead to the development of new bibliometric methodologies and indicators. Technically, it meant a shift from bibliometric impact scores based on average values such as the average impact of all papers published by some unit to be evaluated towards indicators reflecting the top of the citation distribution, such as the number of 'highly cited' or 'top' articles. In this study we present a comparative analysis of a number of standard and new indicators of research performance or 'scientific excellence', using techniques applied in studies conducted by CWTS in recent years. It will be shown that each type of indicator reflects a particular dimension of the general concept of research performance. Consequently, the application of one single indicator only may provide an incomplete picture of a unit's performance. It is argued that one needs to combine the various types of indicators in order to offer policy makers and evaluators valid and useful assessment tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-280
Number of pages24
JournalScientometrics
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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