Citable documents are those considered a vehicle for research results: original articles, summaries and conference proceedings or papers. All the results of this study are limited to analysis of this subset of documents.

Source of data

The BAC has access to these bibliographic sources as part of its role as trustee bibliometric partner with Clarivate Analytics.

The Web of Science (WOS) is the origin of all the sources used in this study. It is a world-renowned source that indexes publications in journals considered to be mainstream in the international world of science, grouped into the collections: Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and Arts & Humanities (A&H).

National Citation Reports (NCR)

This source is an ad hoc product that compiles all publications with at least one postal address in Spain published between 1971 and 2016.

National Science Indicators (NSI)

This source comes from international data. NSI compiles statistics on the number of publications and citations per JCR field for approximately 250 countries, meaning the world from a bibliometric point of view. NSI allows for analysis of global trends in countries and disciplines between 1980 and 2016.

Type of documents

The aforementioned citable documents were selected, meaning articles, reviews and conference proceedings or papers, common vehicles for research results.

Publications selected for the study

The citable publications for the period from 2012 to 2016 registered in any of the journals in the Journal Citation Report (JCR) with at least one Spanish address in the following disciplines: Medicine, Legal; Sport Sciences; Hematology; Toxicology; Dentistry Oral Surgery Medicine; Nutrition & Dietetics; Medical Informatics; Dermatology Venereal Diseases; Mathematical Computational Biology; Education Special; Mathematical Methods Biology Medicine; Andrology; Medical Laboratory Technology; Rheumatology; Pharmacology Pharmacy; Virology; Physiology; Respiratory System; Microscopy; Rehabilitation; Urology Nephrology; Clinical Neurology; Substance Abuse; Biophysics; Transplantation; Health Policy Services; Public Environmental Occupational Health; Peripheral Vascular Disease; Anesthesiology; Otorhinolaryngology; Emergency Medicine Critical Care; Medicine General Internal; Cardiac Cardiovascular Systems; Oncology; Ophthalmology; Primary Health Care; Microbiology; Genetics Heredity; Reproductive Biology; Psychology Social; Tropical Medicine; Geriatrics Gerontology; Obstetrics Gynecology; Gastroenterology Hepatology; Psychiatry; Biochemical Research Methods; Endocrinology Metabolism; Cell Biology; Developmental Biology; Medicine Research Experimental; Psychology Psychoanalysis; Engineering Biomedical; Allergy; Radiology Nuclear Medicine Medical Imaging; Chemistry Medicinal; Biochemistry Molecular Biology; Parasitology; Social Sciences Biomedical; Nursing; Cell Tissue Engineering; Orthopedics; Pediatrics; Behavioral Sciences; Immunology; Psychology Developmental; Psychology Clinical; Surgery; Psychology; Infectious Diseases; Anatomy Morphology; Neurosciences; Pathology; Psychology Experimental; Psychology Biological.

Data processing

The data from the WOS and the NCR isn’t normalized, so it isn’t possible to get a precise direct estimation of the number of publications of any given research center, autonomous community or other aggregate. This lack of normalization means the source data must be subjected to rigorous processes to unify variants and classifications, described below.

Assigning publications to locations

The publications are associated with the locations in the addresses of the centers the authors are affiliated with. This process is done by combining computer algorithms and manual revision to ensure that the margin of error is under 3% with 95% certainty. As a result, each publication is associated with all of the locations reported, which means they can be grouped by city, province or country, as well as analyzed for cooperation among regions and territorial distribution of the bibliographic output. The locations used in this process are from a hierarchical catalog of geographic entities around the world.

Attribution of publications to research centers

Each of the addresses of the affiliation centers in the NCR is manually associated with its respective centers, whether universities or any subunit like departments or institutes, public or private hospitals, public or government research bodies, or companies. This process is subjected to rigorous quality control to ensure that the margin of error is under 3% with 95% certainty. This is the highest level of precision of any of the most recognized bibliometric units today.

Methods for counting publications

Total sum (integer count, or full credit): the organizations identified in a given publication receive a unit for that publication, meaning centers get full credit for that publication. This causes the sum of the number of publications per center to be greater than the real number of publications analyzed. For this reason the percentages calculated by adding up several organizations aren’t correct. Instead, we talk about the part (or the share) of the total number of publications in which a specific organization participates. This happens as well in the calculation of the number of publications of territories, disciplines, sectors or individuals, or any other aggregate.

Classification of scientific publications into fields

The journals indexed by the WOS are classified into one or more of the approximately 250 disciplines in the Journal Citation Report (JCR). This broad spectrum of disciplines provides the multidisciplinary nature of the WOS. As a result of the application of this process, the publications in a particular journal are classified automatically in all the disciplines that apply to that journal. In order to get a more precise estimation of the impact of the research results published in high-visibility journals like Nature, Science, Cell and PNAS, Clarivate Analytics re-classifies these papers in the discipline in which they are most often cited, so their potentially high visibility is reflected in more specific disciplines than “Multidisciplinary science”, which was initially used for this type of journals. The reclassification process currently affects 204 journals classified as “Multidisciplinary science”, as well as a significant number of prominent general journals in clinical medicine, including: Annals of Internal Medicine, British Medical Journal, Journal of the American Medical Society, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, among others.

Bibliometric analysis

Includes analysis of three dimensions: 1) productivity, 2) visibility and 3) excellence by calculating the indicators described below.

Bibliometric indicators

Indicators of activity

This type of indicator provides information on the level of activity, as well as the size of the unit studied.
Number of publications: The sum of all documents of any sort, including articles, editorials, reviews, congress proceedings, etc.
Number of citable documents: The sum of all articles, revisions and conference proceedings or papers only. Unlike letters and editorials, these documents are considered vehicles of research results in science and technology.

Indicators of Impact or Visibility

These indicators are based on the number of citations and give information on the impact the citable documents have on their corresponding scientific communities, the international forum where results of science and technology research is discussed.

Number of citations: This is calculated for the subset of citable documents. The main limitation is that the type of document, discipline or year of publication cause significant variations in this indicator, which limits their use for comparison.
Relative Citation Index (RCI) or Normalized impact: A robust indicator that eliminates the aforementioned variation caused by the type of document, discipline and publication year and provides information on the impact of publications compared to the global average. The RCI is a normalized indicator that allows for comparison of the impact of different territories, disciplines and centers, as well as that of individual researchers. *RCI is calculated for each publication by dividing the number of citations (observed) by the number of expected citations for any work of the same type (articles vs. articles, etc.) published in the same journal and year. This procedure neutralizes the difference in the number of citations caused by year of publication, type of document (it is well known that journal articles tend to be cited more than other types of documents), as well as the differences between the journal in which it is published, a more restrictive criterium than normalizing the impact by JCR discipline.

Indicators of Excellence

This type of indicators is based on the number of citations, which is why it is considered a subtype of the visibility indicators. The significance of this indicator lies in the fact that it allows for the identification of subsets of highly cited papers, which are attributed the quality of having influenced ways of thinking, theory or practice in their discipline.

Highly Cited Papers (HCP): Indicator normalized by type of document, year of publication and JCR discipline that provides information on the propensity to publish highly cited papers (top 1% most cited in the world).
Relative Highly Cited Papers (RHCP)*: Quotient of the number of HCPs of a specific aggregate, whether autonomous community, sector or center, by the total number of citable documents of the aggregate. RHCP above one indicate the aggregate in question has more HCPs than expected, meaning more than the theoretical 10%.
*The percentile of citation for each publication is obtained by ordering all the publications of a specific type (articles vs. articles, etc.), year of publication and JCR discipline by the number of citations they received as of the time the indicator is calculated. HCP have two main strengths: 1) the calculation takes into account differences in citation caused by year of publication, journal and type of document, which makes them a “normalized impact indicator”; 2) its calculation takes into account all the publications for a specific year and JCR discipline, so it is to say, the reference of the international mainstream of research in bibliometric terms.

Indicators of cooperation

Understanding publication to be reliable proof of collaboration, the indicators described below are based on the co-existence of different countries in the same work. The association of publications and locations, the process that allows this analysis to be conducted, is done with a margin of error under 3%.
Percentage of international collaboration (% Int): Provides information on the propensity to collaborate with researchers abroad. International collaboration is associated with greater impact.

Limitations of the study

This is an analysis of the bibliographic output of the BioRegion of Catalonia. As such, it has certain limitations, discussed below:

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