ABS&Comment: Mela, Impact assessment of oncology research in the European Union

Johannes Stegmann stegmann at UKBF.FU-BERLIN.DE
Wed Nov 10 09:33:59 EST 1999

When this article:

Author(s):      Mela GS; Cimmino MA; Ugolini D
Title:  Impact assessment of oncology research in the European Union
Source:         EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER 1999, Vol 35, Iss 8, pp 1182-1186

was mentioned for the first time on this list on September 8, I emailed
(having read the article in full length) to the address given as
correspondence address (ugolini at hp380.ist.unige.it) and asked how the "mean
IF" was determined.
I did not get an answer; so I take the opportunity to ask a second time.
Maybe, I run into danger to make a fool of myself, but in the "Materials
and Methods" section of that article it is not mentioned how the mean
impact factor was determined. As far as I know, there is no "standard rule"
what the mean IF is and how to calculate it.
First, it is not clear to me wether the "Mean Observed Citation Rate"
(MOCR) was determined. Obviously not, otherwise the number of times each
article was cited had to be determined but no citation window is given.
Second, I assume that the "Mean Expected Citation Rate" (MECR) was
calculated by
multiplying the number of articles with the impact factor of the
corresponding journal (taken from the 1995 edition of Journal Citation
Reports (JCR) or a later edition?), adding up the products and dividing the
final sum by the number of published papers. This would be the weighted MECR.

That's my question.
In addition, I wonder how the "Medical journals" papers were determined.

I think it is necessary for each research article to include detailed
methodological description, unless overall accepted standard procedures are
used. It must be possible to repeat a study. Unfortunately, many papers -
also from LIS journals - often lack this feature.

The authors admit that they took into account only a part of all
oncological papers. The results might change if one uses the
"pre-processed" search term NEOPLASMS offered by the DIMDI system. Using
that search (FIND PPS=NEOPLASMS)
I retrieve from SCISEARCH 84837 papers published in 1995. Of these, 35639
(42.0 %) have the "Corporate Country" code (CCO) USA; 6733 (7.9 %) papers
have been published by German institutions (CCO=GERMANY). This is
considerably higher than the 5.2 % which can be calculated from the Mela
paper. But the "ranking" (which is not so interesting for me) probably
would remain more or less the same.
1131 of the 6733 papers from Germany are written in German. This makes 16.8
%. Both Germany-related numbers are similiar to the numbers supplied by E.
Garfield in the preceding email.

Nevertheless, I find the Mela paper very interesting, especially the
keyword analysis. A co-occurrence listing of DISEASES/DRUGS and/or
DISEASES/RESEARCH TOPICS could give deeper insights into what's going on in
oncology research.

Johannes Stegmann

Dr. Johannes Stegmann      Univ. Hospital Benjamin Franklin
Free University Berlin     Medical Library
stegmann at ukbf.fu-berlin.de Hindenburgdamm 30
Tel.: +49 30 8445 2035     D-12200 Berlin
Fax:  +49 30 8445 4454     Germany
  Homepage:  http://www.medizin.fu-berlin.de/medbib/home.html

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