Plurality in multi-disciplinary research: multiple institutional affiliations are associated with increased citations

PeerJ. 2018 Sep 24;6:e5664. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5664. eCollection 2018.


Background: The institutional affiliations and associated collaborative networks that scientists foster during their research careers are salient in the production of high-quality science. The phenomenon of multiple institutional affiliations and its relationship to research output remains relatively unexplored in the literature.

Methods: We examined 27,612 scientific articles, modelling the normalized citation counts received against the number of authors and affiliations held.

Results: In agreement with previous research, we found that teamwork is an important factor in high impact papers, with average citations received increasing concordant with the number of co-authors listed. For articles with more than five co-authors, we noted an increase in average citations received when authors with more than one institutional affiliation contributed to the research.

Discussion: Multiple author affiliations may play a positive role in the production of high-impact science. This increased researcher mobility should be viewed by institutional boards as meritorious in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

Keywords: Multiple Affiliations; Research Collaboration; Research Output..

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.7033631.v1

Grant support

The Centre for Eye Research Australia receives Operational Infrastructure Support from the Victorian Government. Paul Sanfilippo and Alex W. Hewitt are supported by NHMRC Fellowships. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.