Use of citation analysis in Italy reported in Nov 29, 2002 issue of Science magazine.

Garfield, Eugene Garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Mon Dec 2 16:03:25 EST 2002

Encouraging Academic Competition in Europe

There has been considerable debate on what are seen to be unfair academic
recruitment practices in European countries such as Italy and Spain
("Academic recruitment in Spain and Italy," D. Gui et al., Letters, 2 Aug.,
p. 770; "Reforms spark more jobs--and protests," X. Bosch, News of the Week,
1 Feb., p. 781). A substantial problem lies in the fact that there is a lack
of direct competition for funding among the universities of a specific
country based on indicators of scientific performance. Citation analysis,
using the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) database, could foster
such competition. As a task force of the Italian Rectors' Conference (CRUI),
we analyzed the subset of the ISI database encompassing the scientific
production of authors affiliated with Italian institutions (1). We ranked
Italian universities according to the number of published papers in 1995-99,
their citations, and the number of citations received per paper published
(impact). We then devised a productivity index (the number of papers per
university researcher) and a visibility index (the number of citations per
university researcher). We observed that, when data were adjusted for the
number of academic researchers actually working in an institution, there
were differences in rankings compared with unadjusted data (e.g., smaller
universities could become higher in ranking compared with larger
universities). This suggests that for comparison of scientific performance
of different universities, one should also take into account the human
resources available (productivity and visibility indexes). We believe that
citation analysis, if endorsed at both national and local levels, may
provide good opportunities for stimulating the growth of science in academic
systems that are willing to increase the value of merit and genuine
scientific interest.
G. A. Fava,
Department of Psychology,
University of Bologna,
V.le Berti Pichat 5,
40127 Bologna,

E. Breno,
CRUI Foundation for Italian Universities,
Piazza Rondanini, 48,
00186 Rome,

V. Guardabasso,
University Hospital,
University of Catania,
Via S. Sofia 78,
95123 Catania,

M. Stefanelli
Department of Computer and Systems Sciences,
University of Pavia,
Via Ferrata 1,
27100 Pavia,


E. Breno, G. A. Fava, V. Guardabasso, M. Stefanelli, La Ricerca Scientifica
nelle Università Italiane. Una Prima Analisi delle Citazioni della Banca
Dati ISI (CRUI, Rome, 2002).

Related articles in Science:

Academic Recruitment in Spain and Italy

D. Gui, M. Runfola, S. Rossi, S. Panunzi, and A. De Gaetano
Science 2002 297: 770-771. (in Letters) [Full Text]

Volume 298, Number 5599, Issue of 29 Nov 2002, pp. 1715-1716.
Copyright © 2002 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
All rights reserved.

When responding, please attach my original message
Eugene Garfield, PhD. email:  garfield at
home page:
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist LLC.
3535 Market St., Phila. PA 19104-3389
Chairman Emeritus, ISI
3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3302
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list