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Quantitative study on Australian academic science


  • Xin Gu

    () (The University of Newcastle)

  • Karen Blackmore

    () (The University of Newcastle)


Abstract As at the end of 2009, 50 million scholarly papers were in existence, and changes in the global higher education sector are seeing this number grow rapidly. With the impact of university ranking schemes, dramatic changes have occurred in the academic publication system; both the number of publications, and the number of scholars, are increasing rapidly. In this research, we conduct a focused study on the quantitative relationships in Australian academic science. Sample data is selected from three institutions, representing three types of universities in Australia: a leading university, a middle-tier university, and a non-comprehensive university. For our analysis, bibliometric data for 32,056 scholars and 353,334 publications are downloaded. The results show that varying growth rates for scholars (5.6, 6.1, and 7.7%) and journal publications (6.7, 7.4, and 9.7%) for the leading university, the middle-tier university, and the non-comprehensive university respectively. We also evaluate how scholarly publications differ across these three Australian universities types from six aspects: average number of publications per scholar, percentage of first-authored publications, collaboration pattern, average SJR score of publishing journals, percentage of Quartile category of publishing journals, and average citation per publication. Lastly, we consider how the scholarship life-cycle varies in Australian universities in terms of publishing age, thus establishing the quantitative relationship between scholarship life-cycle and publishing performance in Australian universities.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Gu & Karen Blackmore, 2017. "Quantitative study on Australian academic science," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 113(2), pages 1009-1035, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:113:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2499-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2499-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xin Gu & Karen Blackmore, 2017. "Characterisation of academic journals in the digital age," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(3), pages 1333-1350, March.
    2. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-132, March.
    3. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2013. "Are more senior academics really more research productive than junior academics? Evidence from Australian law schools," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 96(2), pages 411-425, August.
    4. Anne-Wil Harzing & Satu Alakangas, 2016. "Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: a longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(2), pages 787-804, February.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:51:y:2001:i:1:d:10.1023_a:1010520913124 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Butler, Linda, 2003. "Explaining Australia's increased share of ISI publications--the effects of a funding formula based on publication counts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 143-155, January.
    7. Linda Butler, 2003. "Modifying publication practices in response to funding formulas," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 39-46, April.
    8. Xin Gu & Karen L. Blackmore, 2016. "Recent trends in academic journal growth," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(2), pages 693-716, August.
    9. Alonso, S. & Cabrerizo, F.J. & Herrera-Viedma, E. & Herrera, F., 2009. "h-Index: A review focused in its variants, computation and standardization for different scientific fields," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 273-289.
    10. repec:spr:scient:v:84:y:2010:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-010-0202-z is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Hicks, Diana, 2012. "Performance-based university research funding systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 251-261.
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    More about this item


    Scholars; Publications; Australian universities; Scholarship life cycle; Collaboration; Academic science;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development


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