[ASC-media] Australian research: "robust good health"

Terri Telford terri at econnect.com.au
Mon Mar 22 18:42:32 EST 2004

Australian research: "robust good health" 
A new analysis shows that Australian research is in robust good health, and far stronger than some commentators have thought. 
The number of papers produced by Australian researchers has doubled over the last 20 years, from 10,000 papers in 1981 to over 20,000 in 2002. 
And the impact of these papers has also increased.  The average number of citations has increased from 2.6 to 4.2 over the same period.
Citations count the number of times a paper is referred to in a subsequent research paper by another author, and are one way of measuring the effectiveness of a research paper.
The analysis was presented at the National Press Club today (Wednesday March 24) by Nancy Bayers, a senior analyst with Thomson ISI.  
She identified the 'hot' areas of Australian research as the space sciences and geoscience.  It is in these disciplines where papers by Australian authors are cited well above the international average rates.
Thomson ISI is a business of Thomson Scientific and Healthcare and is a global leader in providing essential, high quality Web-based information to over seven million researchers, information specialists, and administrators in diverse fields. Thomson ISI produces ISI Web of Knowledge - the single Web environment from which researchers can access, analyse, and manage information.
Ms Bayers said there is a growing need to measure quantitatively and qualitatively the current state of national research, to benchmark against peer nations.
"All the countries with a major stake in research use indicators like these," she said.  "They are an essential aid to making critical funding and priority decisions."
Ms Bayers was speaking at a presentation to seventeen outstanding Australian researchers, all of whom are the most highly cited Australian authors in their discipline.
Her address will be followed by an address to the NPC by Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training.
Nancy Bayers will be in Australia from Sunday March 21 to March 25.

For interviews:  Jeroen Prinsen at 0419 500 711

For a copy of her paper: Terri Telford 0400 577 843, (07) 3846 7111
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