Objective: To compare the research productivity, and its impact, of individuals awarded research scholarships from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) with that of a parallel group of unsuccessful applicants during the funding years 1980/81 to 1989/90 inclusive. Research productivity was defined as the number of peer reviewed publications, and impact was evaluated from the number of publications cited; the number of citations per publication; the number of citations per individual; and the impact score.
Study selection: Data were collected on 192 individuals. Cohorts were defined as successful and unsuccessful individuals entering the system in the same year. The study comprised 10 separate cohorts. Data were collected on yearly publications and citation counts for each individual. These data, along with journal impact factors, were obtained from the Institute for Scientific Information.
Conclusions: During the 10 years of the study, individuals funded by the HSFC published more papers, more of their papers were cited, and they received more citations per individual than the unfunded comparison group. This consistency in multiple indicators provides strong evidence that funded individuals are more productive and that their work has a greater impact on the body of knowledge in this area. Although this study cannot unequivocally show a direct causal relation between funding and research success, the trend as shown by the indicators studied suggests a beneficial effect.