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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2011 Aug;44(8):738-47. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Citations to papers from Brazilian institutions: a more effective indicator to assess productivity and the impact of research in graduate programs.

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Scientific Coordinator of the SciELO Project, FAP, Fundação de Apoio à Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brasil.


A recent assessment of 4400 postgraduate courses in Brazil by CAPES (a federal government agency dedicated to the improvement of the quality of and research at the postgraduate level) stimulated a large amount of manifestations in the press, scientific journals and scientific congresses. This gigantic effort to classify 16,400 scientific journals in order to provide indicators for assessment proved to be puzzling and methodologically erroneous in terms of gauging the institutions from a metric point of view. A simple algorithm is proposed here to weigh the scientometric indicators that should be considered in the assessment of a scientific institution. I conclude here that the simple gauge of the total number of citations accounts for both the productivity of scientists and the impact of articles. The effort spent in this exercise is relatively small, and the sources of information are fully accessible. As an exercise to estimate the value of the methodology, 12 institutions of physics (10 from Brazil, one from the USA and one from Italy) have been evaluated.

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