Research collaboration and production of excellence: Finland 1995-2009

Hannes Toivanen, Arho Suominen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


    This study describes a novel method of assessing credit for authorship and citations received, and argues that conventional bibliometric assessments used for policy development lead to misguided conclusions about how best research is created, and what type policies may promote research excellence. Exploring Finnish research 1995-2009 based on ISI data, we demonstrate that the nature of the Finnish "hot papers" or research frontiers (papers that receive most citations within two years after publication) doesn't correspond with the idealized vision of "high quality research", being highly national and created by relatively small author teams. As such, it also resembles closely research with no impact, i.e. the non-cited papers. These two differ from the "other cited papers", which are authored by larger and highly international teams. While we describe the author team structure and national nature for different cohorts of scientific excellence, our central result is the observation that in terms production of excellence, whole citations created per author, small Finnish author teams are slightly more productive than large international author teams. We discuss at some length the methodological and policy implications of our results, especially as far as they give rise to the suspicion that conventional (Finnish) policy efforts to foster research excellence target the middle-tier papers and target poorly the best papers that resemble closely the worst ones. We also demonstrate how results and conclusions are highly dependent whether research excellence assessment focuses on papers or alternatively researchers. Finally, we consider how "scientific excellence" should be defined and measured in national contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of ISSI 2013 Vienna
    Subtitle of host publication14th International Society of Scientometrics and Informatics Conference
    EditorsJuan Gorraiz, Edgar Schiebel, Christian Gumpenberger, Marianne Hörlesberger, Henk Moed
    Place of PublicationVienna
    PublisherAustrian Institute of Technology
    ISBN (Print)978-3-200-03135-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    Event14th International Society of Scientometrics and Informetrics Conference, ISSI 2013 - Wien, Austria
    Duration: 15 Jul 201319 Jul 2013

    Publication series

    SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics


    Conference14th International Society of Scientometrics and Informetrics Conference, ISSI 2013
    Abbreviated titleISSI 2013


    • research collaboration
    • research front
    • Finland
    • research evaluation
    • citation analysis
    • research excellence


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