Posts Tagged ‘RCR metric’

Measuring Research Impact

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator


Measuring the influence of scientific research has been based on Impact Factor, which has had much discussion.  Impact factor is weighted on both the number of publications and the publication in high impact journals.  The problem comes in for young investigators who are not connected with highly accomplished scientists and who are not in a highly productive environment.  Another problem is that much research today is carried out by multicenter teams at several highly funded universities and this results in 10 to 30 coauthors. The contributions of each author are listed.  Another factor that is not counted in, but might be factored in is the rank of the person in the submitted manuscript – even in a blinded peer review.

A recent paper tries to address these issues.

Capturing the Influence  https://www.genomeweb.com/scan/capturing-influence

Many researchers bemoan the use of journal impact factors as a means of assessing the influence of scientific articles, Nature‘s Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato writes. In response to this, the US National Institutes of Health has developed a new metric, dubbed the Relative Citation Ratio, but this approach, too, has drawn criticism, Bloudoff-Indelicato adds.

In a paper posted at bioRxiv, an NIH team led by George Santangelo describes the RCR as an “article-level and field-independent” way to quantify scientific accomplishment. An article’s RCR is calculated by dividing its citation rate by the average citation rate of articles in the field. The RCR is then compared to a benchmark set of NIH-funded papers.

The team applied the metric to nearly 89,000 articles published between 2003 and 2010, and found that the values they generated tracked with what subject matter experts thought.

According to Nature, Stefano Bertuzzi from the American Society for Cell Biology calls the new metric “stunning” in a blog post, but Ludo Waltman from Leiden University says in his own post that it “doesn’t live up to expectations.” Further, he says that its complexity and lack of transparency will like be an impediment to its wider adoption.

“We don’t suggest [the RCR] is the final answer to measuring,” Santangelo adds. “This is just a tool. No one metric is ever going to be used in isolation by the NIH.”

Relative Citation Ratio (RCR): A new metric that uses citation rates to measure influence at the article level

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NIH’s new citation metric: A step forward in quantifying scientific impact?



Quantifying the scientific impact of publications based on their citations received is one of the core problems of evaluative bibliometrics. The problem is especially challenging when the impact of publications from different scientific fields needs to be compared. This requires indicators that correct for differences between fields in citation behavior. Bibliometricians have put a lot of effort into the development of these field-normalized indicators. In a recent paper uploaded in bioRxiv, a new indicator is proposed, the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR). The paper is authored by a team of people affiliated to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). They claim that the RCR metric satisfies a number of criteria that are not met by existing indicators.

Relative Citation Ratio (RCR): A new metric that uses citation rates to measure influence at the article level

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A New and Stunning Metric from NIH Reveals the Real Nature of Scientific Impact

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