July 12, 2018

Australian researchers’ productivity boom

University researchers have provided Australia with a research productivity boom, according to new analysis by the Innovative Research Universities (IRU), including more than doubling their research output compared to just a decade ago.

The IRU has found the total number of research outputs recorded by Australian academics increased from 45,560 in 2006 to 96,565 in 2016 – a rise of 112 percent.

That includes peer-reviewed journal articles as well as other research documents such as conference papers, book chapters, datasets and software.

The increase for Australia far outstrips any rises in comparator countries over the same period, such as the UK (49 percent), USA (30 percent) and the OECD total (39 percent).

China’s published research output has grown at one of the fastest rates, with 246 percent recorded increase over the same period.

The analysis has been undertaken by the IRU as part of its submission to the House of Representatives’ Inquiry into Funding Australia’s Research, which is looking at the efficiency and effectiveness of Australian Government funding for research.

The raw data comes from the Web of Science (WoS), a publications and citation indexing database that holds comprehensive information about academic publications around the world.

Australia is now responsible for roughly 4% of the total scientific output in the WoS, despite having only 0.3 percent of the world’s population and 1.6 percent of world GDP.

The number of citations for Australian researchers has grown over the past decade too.

In 2006 Australian publications were already cited on average 17 percent more than other publications in their field when compared to the rest of the world. Since then the figure has risen even further, with Australian researchers 37 percent more likely to be cited than the global average.

That puts Australia well above the OECD average and on par with researchers from other highly cited nations such as the UK (141 percent more citations than the global average) and USA (130 percent more citations than the global average).

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