The University Record, September 30, 1998

U ranks first among public universities for papers most frequently cited

By Sally Pobojewski
News and Information Services

U-M research scientists are moving up in the opinion polls. According to the current issue of Science Watch, academic papers published by U-M researchers between 1993 and 1997 made the "Top 10" list of papers most frequently cited by other researchers in nine of 21 fields of study. The U-M placed fifth in the nation overall, and first among public universities, in Science Watch's "Highest Impact" rankings of U.S. universities for 1993-97.

What makes the results even more significant is that the U-M did not place in the "Top 10" in any category in Science Watch's previous citation survey for papers published and cited between 1981 and 1993.

"This ranking is not a popularity contest," says Frederick C. Neidhardt, vice president for research. "It results from one widely used objective measure of the actual impact that scholarly work has nationally and internationally in the 21 areas of science included in the analysis. I find the results both exciting, encouraging and highly significant."

Science Watch bases its rankings on publication and citation data from the Institute of Scientific Information's database of indexed journals in 21 fields of study. Each university's score is compared to a worldwide baseline figure representing overall impact (citations per paper) for all published articles in that field during the same time period. Universities are ranked based on their relative percentages above the baseline.

While Neidhardt says there is no way to know exactly what caused the large jump in the U-M's national ranking from 1993 to 1997, he mentions two possible factors. "In the early '90s, U-M began placing first compared to other universities nationwide in total annual research expenditures, and we have been increasing our volume of research expenditures annually ever since."

Even more significant, according to Neidhardt, is that about five years ago the U-M began several programs designed to foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. "OVPR has been very active in identifying barriers to collaborative endeavors and has worked with other central offices and with the deans and directors to facilitate interactions. The Presidential Initiative Fund Competition, for example, has focused exclusively on collaborative and creative ventures. The U-M has a reputation for bringing together scholars from different disciplines to collaborate on complex problems."

U-M "Top 10" Fields of Study National Rankings

Education

1

Ecology/Environment

5

Psychology/Psychiatry

5

Immunology

7

Computer Science

7

Pharmacology

8

Economics/Business

9

Law

9

Materials Science

10

Science Watch's Highest Impact Universities*

Harvard University

1

Stanford University

2

Caltech

3

Yale University

4

University of Michigan

5

MIT

6

U-California/Berkeley

7

University of Washington

8

U-California/Santa Barbara

9

Cornell University

10

*Based on frequency of "Top 10" appearances.


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