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Scientific Productivity and Group Size: A Bibliometric Analysis of Norwegian Microbiological Research


  • Per O. Seglen

    (Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research and Higher Education (NIFU))

  • Dag W. Aksnes

    (Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research and Higher Education (NIFU))


To analyse the relationship between research group size and scientific productivity within the highly cooperative research environment characteristic of contemporary biomedical science, an investigation of Norwegian Microbiology was undertaken. By an author-gated retrieval from ISI's database National Science Indicators on Diskette (NSIOD), of journal articles published by Norwegian scientists involved in microbiological research during the period 1992–1996, a total of 976 microbiological and 938 non-microbiological articles, by 3,486 authors, were obtained. Functional research groups were defined bibliometrically on the basis of co-authorship, yielding a total of 180 research groups varying in size from one author/one article to 180 authors/83 articles (all authors associated with a group during the whole five-year period were included, hence the large group size). Most of Norwegian microbiological research (73% of the microbiology articles) appears to be performed by specialist groups (with ≥70% of their production as microbiology), the remainder being published by groups with a broader biomedical research profile (who were responsible for 95% of the non-microbiological articles). The productivity (articles per capita) showed only moderate (Poisson-distributed) variability between groups, and was remarkably constant across all subfields, at about 0.1 article per author per year. No correlation between group size and productivity was found.

Suggested Citation

  • Per O. Seglen & Dag W. Aksnes, 2000. "Scientific Productivity and Group Size: A Bibliometric Analysis of Norwegian Microbiological Research," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 49(1), pages 125-143, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:49:y:2000:i:1:d:10.1023_a:1005665309719
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1005665309719

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dag W. Aksnes & Terje Bruen Olsen & Per O. Seglen, 2000. "Validation of Bibliometric Indicators in the Field of Microbiology: A Norwegian Case Study," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 49(1), pages 7-22, August.
    2. Katz, J. Sylvan & Martin, Ben R., 1997. "What is research collaboration?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, March.
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