UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

December 2002 / January 2003

NCAR’s influence: Way beyond its size

While the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards put an internal spotlight on some major UCAR and NCAR achievements, external rankings show that NCAR is one of the most influential research institutions in the world. According to one key measure, NCAR ranked second among geoscience institutions worldwide at the end of last year in terms of the impact of its research, trailing only Germany’s renowned Max Planck Institute.

The ranking was produced by the magazine Science Watch, which tracked journal article citations from the beginning of 1991 through June 2001. The magazine rated institutions by their "research impact," defined as the number of citations per high-impact article. The selected articles by NCAR scientists were found to have an average of 16.15 citations, just behind Max Planck (16.33) and just ahead of Harvard University (15.24).

"The combination of large numbers of peer-reviewed papers and high citation counts associated with those papers means that the quantity and quality of NCAR’s research output is very high," says NCAR director Tim Killeen. "We can be proud of these past accomplishments, but we must continue our efforts to document our emerging scientific understanding across the broad range of topics germane to NCAR’s mission."

Tim also points out that NCAR does particularly well in terms of total citations. The three most-cited institutions in the geosciences—NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey—each have multiple centers and laboratories. NCAR, fourth overall, ranked higher than any other individual research center.

The rankings are based on 10-year rolling averages, which means they change somewhat from month to month. Since the Science Watch article was published last fall, NCAR’s research impact ranking has slipped slightly to a still-more-than-respectable fourth place, according to Essential Science Indicators, a well-known Web-based evaluation tool and database that provided Science Watch with statistics for its study.

NCAR is holding steady in fourth place for total citations. And CGD’s Kevin Trenberth scores particularly well among individual scientists, ranking at times in the top 25 among the world’s most-cited geoscientists.
The geosciences category includes geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and oceanography. Science Watch’s ranking was based on articles in more than 300 geosciences journals. •David Hosansky

Also in this issue...

The Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

Coffee for 1,200?
JOSS group provides logistics for conferences, field programs

NCAR supercomputer joins list of world’s fastest

From Africa and South America

Scientists explore fundamental building blocks of the atmosphere

Sittin' with Santa

Delphi Questions

Climate convocation mulls the state of U.S. research


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