National research contributions: A case study on Finnish biomedical research

  • Riikonen P
  • Vihinen M
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The long-term influence and contribution of research can be evaluated
relatively reliably by bibliometric citation analysis. Previously,
productivity of nations has been estimated by using either the number of
published articles or journal impact factors and/or citation data. These
studies show certain trends, but detailed analysis is not possible due
to the assumption that all articles in a journal were equally cited.
Here we describe the first comprehensive, longterm, nationwide analysis
of scientific performance. We studied the lifetime research output of
748 Finnish principal investigators in biomedicine during the years
1966-2000, analysed national trends, and made a comparison with
international research production. Our results indicate that analyses of
the scientific contribution of persons, disciplines, or nations should
be based on actual publication and citation counts rather than on
derived information like impact factors. 51% of the principal
investigators have published altogether 75% of the articles; however,
the whole scientific community has contributed to the growth of
biomedical research in Finland since the Second World War.

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