Citation impact of NHLBI R01 grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as compared to R01 grants funded through a standard payline

Circ Res. 2015 Feb 27;116(5):784-8. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.305894.


Rationale: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allowed National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to fund R01 grants that fared less well on peer review than those funded by meeting a payline threshold. It is not clear whether the sudden availability of additional funding enabled research of similar or lesser citation impact than already funded work.

Objective: To compare the citation impact of ARRA-funded de novo National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute R01 grants with concurrent de novo National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute R01 grants funded by standard payline mechanisms.

Methods and results: We identified de novo (type 1) R01 grants funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in fiscal year 2009: these included 458 funded by meeting Institute's published payline and 165 funded only because of ARRA funding. Compared with payline grants, ARRA grants received fewer total funds (median values, $1.03 versus $1.87 million; P<0.001) for a shorter duration (median values including no-cost extensions, 3.0 versus 4.9 years; P<0.001). Through May 2014, the payline R01 grants generated 3895 publications, whereas the ARRA R01 grants generated 996. Using the InCites database from Thomson-Reuters, we calculated a normalized citation impact for each grant by weighting each article for the number of citations it received normalizing for subject, article type, and year of publication. The ARRA R01 grants had a similar normalized citation impact per $1 million spent as the payline grants (median values [interquartile range], 2.15 [0.73-4.68] versus 2.03 [0.75-4.10]; P=0.61). The similar impact of the ARRA grants persisted even after accounting for potential confounders.

Conclusions: Despite shorter durations and lower budgets, ARRA R01 grants had comparable citation outcomes per $million spent to that of contemporaneously funded payline R01 grants.

Keywords: bibliometrics; economics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act*
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Budgets
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Financing, Government / economics*
  • Financing, Government / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Financing, Government / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.) / economics*
  • Research Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Support as Topic / economics*
  • Research Support as Topic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Research Support as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • United States