4.1Bibliometric analysis of life, natural and technical sciences

By Koenraad Debackere (KU Leuven), Wolfgang Glänzel (KU Leuven), en Bart Thijs (KU Leuven).

The size and impact of the Flemish performance in natural, life, technical and social sciences is presented using a highly relevant set of indicators using bibliometric analysis of publications in internationaly acknowledges scientific literature. The Flemish scientific output has shown a pronounced increase in the studied period but this is accompanied by a growing visibility of this research. This combined results makes clear that Flanders belongs to the forerunners in the European science landscape. Without any doubt, it can be stated that Flemish researchers are able to use the availbale resources in a highly efficient way.

The main drivers behind this growth are the Flemish universities who produce about 89% of the overal output. Moreover, a large share of the output of the other institutes or organizations is realised in collaboration with these five universities. Public research institutes account for about 15% while companies and private organisations take a share of about 7%.

A field specific research profile comparing the relative distribution of scientific output of Flanders with the overal distribution in the complete bibliographic database provides an insight in the specialisation of Flemish research. The life- and social sciences take a larger portion than overall while the natural and technical sciences are lagging behind. 

This rather skewed distribution over fields is contrasted by the citation impact where a high score is obtained in nearly any field. This is mirrored by the overal impact scores where Flanders is catching up with Denmark and the Netherlands who occupy clearly the two top spots when plotting relative citation indicators. 

When looking at international collaboration, these observations are even more pronounced. There is a clear growth in the social and life sciences but also in the geo- and space sciences. The international collaboration in the natural and technical sciences are lagging behind in output counts but not in citation impact, creating the skewed research output profile combined with an overal high relative citation rate.