Friday, 21 September 2012

Europe Dominates World Research into Fungi

The online journal and European news journal Lab Times periodically releases analyses of the citation ranking of countries of the world in order of the number of publication that are referred to by other researchers in a particular field.
Citations are a form of performance measurement for academics as arguably the number of times a research paper is cited by other authors reflects its importance in that field more accurately than simply counting the number of papers published by a researcher or research group.

This is because some research papers are more important than others. Those which are amongst the first to describe a finding will be cited by all of those following and will get a high number of citations. Those that merely make a minor point in an already established field of research will attract relatively few citations.

Citation indexes are routinely collated and used by journals as a measure of their importance and are included as one factor in calculating impact factor.

 Lab Times calculates a citation 'league table' for scientists in each field of research - effectively a league table of importance of each researcher in each field of research.

Their most recent analysis is for the field of fungal research and interestingly it shows that Europe dominates the world in this category, particularly powered by major fungal research centres in Germany, Holland and England, closely followed by France and Spain. Taken together the EU claims nearly twice as many citations as the US and nearly ten times as many as Japan.

Within Europe Germany dominates closely followed by Holland but it might be worth noting that the UK is divided up into its component countries. If this had not happened UK might well edge out Germany for first place as there are prolific centres of excellence in fungal research in both Scotland (currently led by Aberdeen University) and Wales (Cardiff University).

This success is said to largely reflect the size of the CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre  in Holland, the Pasteur Institute in France as well as multiple smaller Universities throughout Europe but perhaps most remarkable is the research prominence of the University of Manchester in this field. Professors David Denning and Stephen Oliver are placed first and third in the league table for authorship of papers and both work in Manchester.

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