October 30, 1998

VUMC programs lauded for nationwide impact of scientific publications

VUMC programs lauded for nationwide impact of scientific publications

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's programs in the biological sciences are among the nation's elite when it comes to garnering citations in clinical research papers, the results of a new survey show.

In a ranking of nine biomedical science categories, Pharmacology ranked number one and Clinical Medicine ranked number 10, respectively out of the top 100 federally funded universities in citation impact, according to the newsletter Science Watch, published by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).

Citation impact measures not the sheer output of research papers, but rather per-paper punch, arrived at by determining the number of times a paper is cited in other works. This latest survey is ISI's first in four years and shows the universities whose research papers attracted citations at a rate notably above the world average in each of nine biomedical science categories between 1993 and 1997.

VUMC's Pharmacology papers were cited 157 percent more than the world average in the field, far outstripping the number two ranked university in the category, the University of Washington. Clinical Medicine papers by VUMC physicians and scientists were cited 86 percent more than the world average.

This ranking of citation impact demonstrates the extent to which the nation's scientific community as a whole draws upon the research being done at Vanderbilt, said Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research.

"That papers in Pharmacology by Vanderbilt investigators far exceeds those from other institutions nationally is no surprise," said Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research. "The synergy between Pharmacology and clinical Pharmacology represents the bench-to-bedside paradigm ‹ and bedside-to-bench inquiries ‹ that naturally have great impact.

"In much the same way, Clinical Medicine enjoys the stimulation and input of colleagues doing basic and translational research, thanks to the intrinsic collegiality in our environment.

"That interactiveness and mutual respect is Vanderbilt's treasure, and to a great extent is responsible for our many success. An important goal for me is to help enrich our scientific enterprise and its impact without threatening our greatest strength, our collegiality," Limbird said.

In its study, ISI analyzed publication and citation statistics on the top 100 federally funded U.S. universities. In order to confine the analysis to universities that produced a substantial body of papers during the survey period, ISI set a minimum threshold for number of papers produced. This threshold varied, reflecting differences from category to category in the number of journals used to define the field and the number of papers published in those journals.