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Non-Clinical Medicine - Physics - Science Policy

A Measure of Total Research Impact Independent of Time and Discipline
Published: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Author: Alberto Pepe et al.

by Alberto Pepe, Michael J. Kurtz

Authorship and citation practices evolve with time and differ by academic discipline. As such, indicators of research productivity based on citation records are naturally subject to historical and disciplinary effects. We observe these effects on a corpus of astronomer career data constructed from a database of refereed publications. We employ a simple mechanism to measure research output using author and reference counts available in bibliographic databases to develop a citation-based indicator of research productivity. The total research impact (tori) quantifies, for an individual, the total amount of scholarly work that others have devoted to his/her work, measured in the volume of research papers. A derived measure, the research impact quotient (riq), is an age-independent measure of an individual's research ability. We demonstrate that these measures are substantially less vulnerable to temporal debasement and cross-disciplinary bias than the most popular current measures. The proposed measures of research impact, tori and riq, have been implemented in the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System.