Irish genetics papers top citation index


SCIENTIFIC PAPERS from Ireland in the field of genetics now receive more citations on average than those from any other country.

A citation index previously ranked Irish papers in two other research areas as the third and eighth most-cited papers in the world.

The achievement indicates how much could be achieved by moderate research investments in tightly defined areas, said Dr Graham Love, director of policy and communications with funding body Science Foundation Ireland.

The citation index, Essential Science Indicators,is compiled by the media company Thomson Reuters.

It catalogues thousands of scientific research papers and monitors subsequent research papers for references to earlier discoveries.

“It is generally the benchmark and has most of the journals,” Dr Love said yesterday.

Ireland ranked third in the immunology research area last year, because of the high number of citations of Irish papers.

Several months ago, Ireland also achieved a ranking of eighth in the world for research papers in materials science.

Dr Love indicated that the Thomson Reuters index has now placed Ireland at number one for citations in the molecular genetics and genomics areas.

Details were published in the life sciences journal Lab Times. They showed that, on average, Irish genetics research papers received 61.4 citations each, prompting the journal to refer to Ireland as “small but impressive”.

The next closest in this category were Switzerland, with 44.4 citations per article followed by England, with 41.1 citations per article.

Dr Love acknowledged that citation indices had been criticised as inadequate for gauging research success.

“You do have to compare like with like, but if you do that it shows how you are performing in an area,” he said.

It also showed how investment in specific areas can deliver results.

“What it demonstrates is you can fund particular areas and you can rise to the top,” he said.