In a recent opinion in The Scientist,1 Thomas J. Phelan discusses methods to objectively assess the quality of academic research and concludes that citation analysis might be very relevant to evaluating accomplishments at research universities. It is against this utopian backdrop that I share my real world experience.

As a previous leader of the faculty in our medical school, I have performed studies of various programs in our university and have also asked administrators to consider citation analysis as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of both faculty and programs. Surprisingly, the results of these studies have shown wide disparities on the impact of programs, often inversely correlated with the financial input of the university or external funding. Perhaps because of this, there has been disinterest by both administrators and faculty in the results and implications of such data, a disinterest that stems from the increasing emphasis that...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!