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An empirical approach to compare the performance of heterogeneous academic fields

Author

Listed:
  • Giancarlo Ruocco

    () (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’)

  • Cinzia Daraio

    () (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’)

Abstract

Abstract In this paper, we propose a ‘scaling’ approach to compare the scientific performance of Italian heterogeneous academic disciplines. This method is based on the idea that, after eliminating the percentages of ‘silent’ researchers, the distribution of bibliometric parameters of the different academic fields can be superimposed and collapse into a unique master curve by a single scaling parameter. By using data on the scientific production of around 2,500 scholars of the university of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ from the Web of Science from 2004 to 2008, we (i) demonstrate the existence of a master curve, (ii) determine the scaling factors that work like rates of substitution to compare the scientific production across different academic fields on a common ground, (iii) show that the master bibliometric distribution follows a log-normal law and (iv) illustrate the relevance of the proposed approach for research assessment and allocation of competitive funding at the university level.

Suggested Citation

  • Giancarlo Ruocco & Cinzia Daraio, 2013. "An empirical approach to compare the performance of heterogeneous academic fields," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 97(3), pages 601-625, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:97:y:2013:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1038-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-013-1038-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Katz, J. Sylvan, 1999. "The self-similar science system1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 501-517, June.
    2. S. Redner, 1998. "How popular is your paper? An empirical study of the citation distribution," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 131-134, July.
    3. Pedro Albarrán & Juan A. Crespo & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 88(2), pages 385-397, August.
    4. J Sylvan Katz, 2000. "Scale-independent indicators and research evaluation," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 23-36, February.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:93:y:2012:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0694-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rodrigo Costas & Thed N. van Leeuwen & María Bordons, 2010. "A bibliometric classificatory approach for the study and assessment of research performance at the individual level: The effects of age on productivity and impact," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 61(8), pages 1564-1581, August.
    7. Daraio, Cinzia & Moed, Henk F., 2011. "Is Italian science declining?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1380-1392.
    8. Ludo Waltman & Nees Jan van Eck & Anthony F. J. van Raan, 2012. "Universality of citation distributions revisited," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 63(1), pages 72-77, January.
    9. Enrico Deiaco & Alan Hughes & Maureen McKelvey, 2012. "Universities as strategic actors in the knowledge economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 525-541.
    10. Daraio, Cinzia & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Geuna, Aldo & Lepori, Benedetto & Bach, Laurent & Bogetoft, Peter & F. Cardoso, Margarida & Castro-Martinez, Elena & Crespi, Gustavo & de Lucio, Ignacio Fernandez, 2011. "The European university landscape: A micro characterization based on evidence from the Aquameth project," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 148-164, February.
    11. repec:spr:scient:v:83:y:2010:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-009-0124-9 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1627-1 is not listed on IDEAS

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