Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Australian research has global impact

It's often difficult to measure the effectiveness of medical research and other scientific endeavours until decades after the work is done because it takes that long to turn discoveries into new treatments. But organisations that fund research, like the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), need to know that their money is being well spent right now.

The NHMRC attempts to measure scientific success in terms of sheer numbers of publications and 'publication impact'. This means they measure how influential new research has been on other scientists.

Research recorded and published in a high-impact scientific journal (like Nature or Science) is more likely to be read by other scientists around the world, but whether or not research is published in these journals depends solely on the opinions of a few experts. A better indication of impact is the number of citations or number of times other scientists refer to a particular publication.

The NHMRC bibliometric report, Measuring Up 2013, assessing the biomedical publication output and impact of Australia’s research sector was released on 13 February. The report shows that over the five-year period of 2005-2009:
  • Australian health and medical publications had a relative citation impact 17% above the world average, with NHMRC-funded publications, in particular, being 60% above the world average;
  • The number of Australian health and medical research publications increased by 44% between 2002-2006 and 2005-2009, with Australia contributing 3.1% of total world biomedical publications (from an estimated 1.1% of global health research dollars);
  • Australia’s medical research institutes outperformed other research sectors and world benchmarks, with a relative citation impact 65% above the world average and 40% above Australia overall;
  • International collaborations increased between 2005 and 2009, with 44% of biomedical research papers having an international author in 2009; this is important, because papers with an international author had an average citation impact almost double that of publications without an international author.

CMRI is proud to be included among the Australian medical research institutes who had a citation impact 65% above the world average.