The measurement of scientific excellence around the world
This paper reviews scientific excellence in 38 countries and eight geographical areas using two sets of novel indicators of citation impact: a family of high-impact indicators imported from the poverty literature in Economics, and a set of indicators within the percentile rank approach. Among the main findings with a dataset of about 4.4 million from Thomson Scientific we emphasize the following three. (i) The proportion 10%, and two important percentile rank indicators bring no novelty relative to a traditional average-based indicator. (ii) A high-impact indicator very sensitive to citation inequality is seen to be useful to detect success at a local level, but not for a global ranking that includes small research units. (iii) A monotonic high-impact indicator sensitive to any increase in citations is used to rank the partition of the world into 46 units in the 22 broad fields distinguished by Thomson Scientific, as well as the all-sciences case. The authors acknowledge financial support by Santander Universities Global Division of Banco Santander. Albarrán acknowledges additional financial support from the Spanish MEC through grants ECO2009-11165 y ECO2011-29751, and Ruiz-Castillo through grant SEJ2007-67436. This paper is produced as part of the project Science, Innovation, Firms and markets in a Globalised World (SCIFIGLOW), a Collaborative Project funded by the European Commission's Seventh Research Framework Programme, Contract number SSH7-CT-2008-217436.
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