Evaluating research and impact: a bibliometric analysis of research by the NIH/NIAID HIV/AIDS clinical trials networks

PLoS One. 2011 Mar 4;6(3):e17428. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017428.


Evaluative bibliometrics uses advanced techniques to assess the impact of scholarly work in the context of other scientific work and usually compares the relative scientific contributions of research groups or institutions. Using publications from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) HIV/AIDS extramural clinical trials networks, we assessed the presence, performance, and impact of papers published in 2006-2008. Through this approach, we sought to expand traditional bibliometric analyses beyond citation counts to include normative comparisons across journals and fields, visualization of co-authorship across the networks, and assess the inclusion of publications in reviews and syntheses. Specifically, we examined the research output of the networks in terms of the a) presence of papers in the scientific journal hierarchy ranked on the basis of journal influence measures, b) performance of publications on traditional bibliometric measures, and c) impact of publications in comparisons with similar publications worldwide, adjusted for journals and fields. We also examined collaboration and interdisciplinarity across the initiative, through network analysis and modeling of co-authorship patterns. Finally, we explored the uptake of network produced publications in research reviews and syntheses. Overall, the results suggest the networks are producing highly recognized work, engaging in extensive interdisciplinary collaborations, and having an impact across several areas of HIV-related science. The strengths and limitations of the approach for evaluation and monitoring research initiatives are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome*
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Interdisciplinary Studies / standards
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U.S.)*
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)*
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States