For medical research, the University of Heidelberg is one of the front runners in Germany. Among the universities it leads the field. This is the conclusion arrived at by a study undertaken by the Center for Science and Technology Studies (Leyden) at the request of the German Federal Higher Education Ministry and covering the period 1989 to 1998. "Thus, in another of the main areas of its scientific and scholarly profile the University of Heidelberg has received confirmation of outstanding excellence from external performance evaluators," said Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff, recalling the extremely gratifying showing of Heidelberg's Political Sciences Department in the recent ranking list published by the Centre for Higher Education Development and the magazine stern.
The basis for the Leyden evaluation of performance at German universities and research institutions is the "science impact scores" method. These are ratings for the number of scientific/scholarly publications in English produced by a given institution, the frequency with which those publications are quoted by other scientists/scholars and the number of citations from all publications by a medical faculty or institution. "With a score of 1.40," said vice-Rector for medicine, Prof. Dr. Jochen Tröger, "the University of Heidelberg leads the field, ahead of other top-ranking German universities."
9,000 publications in English
Among those top-ranking universities are the Universities of Munich (1.30 and 1.18), Freiburg (1.29) and Würzburg (1.18). With close to 9,000 publications in English between 1987 and 1998, medical research in Heidelberg is outstripped in this respect only by the University of Munich (11,400).
In the individual performance evaluations for clinical medicine and basic medical research Heidelberg again emerges as front runner, with scores of 1.22 and 1.38 respectively. "This outstanding showing is the work of the scientists at the Medical Faculties of Heidelberg and Heidelberg at Mannheim as well as of scientists doing research in neighbouring Faculties and Centres of the University of Heidelberg," commented Heidelberg's Dean of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Hans-Günther Sonntag.
Among non-university research institutions the top scores were achieved by the Karlsruhe Research Centre (science impact score 1.97, 356 publications) and the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg (1.50, 4,034 publications).
The study is available in book form:
R. Tijsen, T. van Leeuwen, A. van Raan: Mapping the Scientific Performance of German Medical Research, Schattauer GmbH, 2002, ISBN 3-7945-2162-7.
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