NHMRC grant applications: a comparison of "track record" scores allocated by grant assessors with bibliometric analysis of publications

Med J Aust. 2007 Sep 17;187(6):348-52. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01279.x.


Objectives: To investigate the correlation between the publication "track record" score of applicants for National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants and bibliometric measures of the same publication output; and to compare the publication outputs of recipients of NHMRC program grants with those of recipients under other NHMRC grant schemes.

Design: For a 15% random sample of 2000 and 2001 project grant applications, applicants' publication track record scores (assigned by grant assessors) were compared with bibliometric data relating to publications issued in the previous 6 years. Bibliometric measures included total publications, total citations, and citations per publication. The program grants scheme underwent a major revision in 2001 to better support broadly based collaborative research programs. For all successful 2001 and 2002 program grant applications, a citation analysis was undertaken, and the results were compared with citation data on NHMRC grant recipients from other funding schemes.

Main outcome measure: Correlation between publication track record scores and bibliometric indicators.

Results: The correlation between mean project-grant track record scores and all bibliometric indicators was poor and below statistically significant levels. Recipients of program grants had a strong citation record compared with recipients under other NHMRC funding schemes.

Conclusion: The poor correlation between track record scores and bibliometric measures for project grant applications suggests that factors other than publication history may influence the assignment of track record scores.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Financing, Organized*
  • Organizations, Nonprofit*
  • Publications*
  • Random Allocation