B – A new method for measuring research leadership

Klavans R, Boyack KW. Toward an objective, reliable and accurate method for measuring research leadership. Scientometrics 2010;82:539-53
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-010-0188-6)

A new alternative method of measuring research leadership for an actor, be it a university, state, or nation, is proposed in the article. Seeking and gaining a leadership position in science brings great benefit to institutions, being the basis for much of the strategy and policy decisions. Results from this new approach have been compared to results calculated using a traditional journal category-based approach for determining leadership. The traditional method uses partitions of science based on journal categories and it is not well-suited to measuring anything that is cross-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary (research leadership is rarely mono-disciplinary). The new method is based on highly cited reference papers rather than journals and defines three different types of leadership: publication leadership, reference leadership and thought leadership. The comparison provides evidence that this new method more accurately portrays the actual patterns of research leadership at the national level.