Report shows rise in performance, with IMI research cited 60% more than EU average and twice as much as the rest of the world.
Science that makes an impact
A report by Clarivate Analytics evaluated the research performance of projects funded by IMI for the period 2010-2018. The study reveals a continued, exceptional growth in publication output and excellence score. IMI research is featured in high-impact journals and continues to be influential internationally. Remarkably, the citation impact of IMI project research is nearly twice the world average, and 60% higher than the European Union’s average citation impact.
To date, IMI projects have produced 4,938 publications, a 32% increase in the last year. The number of publications has risen steadily as the number of IMI projects has grown over time. IMI research covers topics that range from basic biological research to clinical practice. Within this broad field, IMI project research has been published most frequently in journals of pharmacology and pharmacy, neurosciences and biochemistry, and molecular biology.
The star of this year’s bibliometric report is BTCure, an IMI project on Rheumatoid Arthritis which ran from 2011 to 2017. With 645 publications as of this report, BTCure remains IMI’s most prolific project. In addition, research published by the Europain, NEWMEDS and U-BIOPRED projects has performed particularly well, featuring more than twice the world average of citations (for research published in the same field and year of reference).
The power of collaboration
Projects funded by IMI are highly collaborative. Since the 2017 report, an increasing percentage of IMI publications involve collaboration between researchers across different sectors, institutions and countries. 62.2% of all IMI project papers are co-authored by researchers working in different sectors, 84.3% involved collaboration between institutions, and 61.3% of all IMI project papers are internationally collaborative. Collaboration across borders gives IMI research a citation impact (2.62) well over twice the world average (a baseline of 1.0), and higher than IMI project research not resulting from international collaboration (1.86).
Geography of research excellence
Research in both Europe and North America tends to be clustered in major cities with an existing strong academic research base. Within these clusters, the citation impact of IMI papers is higher than national averages, and rates of international co-authorship are very high compared to the averages for EU-28 biomedical research. The largest European clusters of IMI project research are London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Paris and Copenhagen; while Oxford is the hub with the highest proportion of open access publications (75%). IMI-funded research has been benchmarked against those of high-profile funding organisations, and measures up well against the likes of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); the Critical Path Institute (C-Path), the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH); the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH); Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Wellcome Trust (WT).
This bibliometric report considers the 135 projects that IMI has funded from 2008 to 2018, through a total of 27 funding calls for proposals. It takes several months for a project to progress from inception to the point where it has generated sufficient data for a publication, and additional months to years until it produces its most valuable results. As some of the IMI projects analysed in this report are relatively young, the bibliometric indicators may not fully reflect their eventual impact.
IMI research in the world’s top journals
PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, featured 162 IMI publications - more than any other journal. The second most prolific was the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, with 153 publications. IMI research publications are featured in influential journals with a top score for ‘Journal Impact Factor’. The New England Journal of Medicine is the highest impact outlet in which IMI research was published. In addition, IMI project research was published 11 times in Nature and nine times in Science – which rank highly for impact.
Key facts & figures
- 60% of IMI research has been published in high-impact journals
- The citation impact of IMI project research (1.84) is nearly twice the world average (a baseline of 1.00) and 60% higher than the European Union’s (EU) average citation impact (1.10)
- Nearly one quarter of papers from IMI projects are in the world’s top 10% of most highly-cited papers in the relevant field; suggesting very strong performance
- BTCURE publications increased by 12.6% on the previous year’s publications. This project also had the most cross-sector collaborative papers, 380 out of a total of 603 (63%), as well as the most internationally collaborative papers (350 out of 603)
- Research by IMI projects EUROPAIN, NEWMEDS and U-BIOPRED received more than twice the world average number of citations for research published in the same field and year
- With a citation impact of 1.84, the IMI research excellence score is comparable to that of the world’s top research funding bodies
- Between 2017 and 2018, IMI’s research output grew by 20.9%; faster than any of the seven selected research-funding bodies