Humanitas Scientific Director among the most influential biomedical scientists
A group of American researchers developed a new method that measures the impact of scientists by combining different indicators of the quality of their research. Through this approach, as explained in an article published on the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, it was possible to draw up a rank of the most influential scientists within the biomedical fields. Amongst them, there were only six Italian scientists that are working in Italy – the first of which was Alberto Mantovani, scientific director of the Istituto Clinico Humanitas – while the others, like Carlo Croce at the University of Ohio and Napoleone Ferrara at Genentech Incorporated, are currently abroad.
The study was coordinated by John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at the Stanford University, who also is included in the list. He and his colleagues took the authors identifiers from the Scopus database and, for each individual researcher, they calculated the relative h-index, which is an indicator of a scientist’s research quality. They then combined the h-index with the number of total citations and normalized the result, in order to obtain the final ranking. Also, the dominant specialty journal – excluding the multidisciplinary ones like Science, Nature, PNAS and PLoS One – where each of them has published was also provided, in order to offer insight for the main fields where each scientist is working.
Such an approach has its flaws, as Ioannidis and colleagues recognized. However, it represents a relevant novelty for the measurement of the scientific impact of researchers, a key element whose improvement would meliorate the efficiency of evaluation processes, thus favouring individual merit and a better repartition of research funds.