Background: The way in which research impact is evaluated and assessed has long been under debate. In recent years the focus is moving away from the use of numerical indicators, towards an emphasis on narratives. The Dutch university medical centres (UMCs) have a long-standing tradition of using bibliometric indicators. Because of the declining interest in indicators alone, this study was designed to repurpose bibliometrics to answer specific strategic questions. In this article we discuss the strategic and policy-based questions, the methodology we used in uncovering relevant information and conclusions we draw from the analyses we performed. The aim of this article is to inform a broader audience about the potential applications of bibliometric information to support a new form of research intelligence. Methods: In this study we used a curated set of publications from the UMCs. We performed different bibliometric analyses and used bibliometric visualization tools to shed light on research focus, open science practices, collaboration, societal impact and scientific impact. Results: The analyses allowed us to visualize and contextualize the research focus of the UMCs as a whole, but also to show specific focus areas of each UMC. The UMCs are active in the full spectrum of biomedical research, and at the same time are very complementary to each other. Furthermore, we were able to show the development of open access of UMC publications over time, to support the national mission. Visualizing collaboration is a powerful way of showing both the international orientation and the regional and national engine function of UMCs in research. We were able to assess societal impact by looking at the different channels in which publications find their way to societally relevant sources such as news media, policy documents and guidelines. Finally, we assessed scientific impact and put this into an international perspective. Conclusions: Research intelligence is able to transform bibliometric information by interpretation and annotation into highly relevant insights that can be used for several different strategic purposes and for research impact assessment in general.
The report described in this study was commissioned and financed by the individual Dutch university medical centres joined in the NFU.
Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).