Measuring Research Output at the European Championship


Poland and Portugal are through to the quarter-finals, but both have relied heavily on key individuals during the knockout stage, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski both coming up with the goods when it mattered. But how are these two countries doing when it comes to collaborating with others to produce research? Let’s see the countries with which they have most frequently collaborated when authoring scientific papers.  First, however, let’s look at the research area in which they publish the most. For the time period 1980-2016, Poland has published more than 32,500 papers in the Web of Science category of Chemistry, Physical; 39.46% of these papers include at least one co-author based in another country. Over the same period, Portugal’s strongest area in terms of productivity is Engineering, Electrical & Electronic, with more than 12,000 publications; 20.18% of these papers list at least one international co-author.

 Poland’s top three country collaborations in the field of Chemistry, Physical are the USA (2,610 papers with at least one US-based institution), followed by Germany (2,324 papers) and France (1,740 papers).

poland collaborations

Portugal’s top three country collaborators in the field of Engineering, Electrical & Electronic are the USA (453 papers with US-based institutions), followed by Spain (423 papers) and the United Kingdom (339 papers).

portugal collab


Size is seemingly no barrier to success at the international level, as both Wales and Belgium made it through to the quarter-finals, finishing first and second in their groups, respectively. Let’s look at each country’s scientific research output trends. Over the past 35 years (1980-2016), Wales has produced more than 164,000 publications, whereas Belgium has produced more than triple that amount, with 552,400.

wales v belgium

In terms of scientific publishing in gold open access journals, Wales has published more than 3,700 papers, while Belgium has published more than 17,800 since 2000. Welsh researchers’ top gold open access journals choices include Plos One, BMJ Open and Trials journals while Belgian researchers select to publish the most in Plos One, Optics Express and Critical Care journals.

wales v belgium gold open



One of the tastiest pairings of the quarter-finals so far must surely be Germany against Italy – two proud footballing nations with strong track records at major finals. Both also have very strong track records in research output and strength across various scientific disciplines, so it is interesting to compare their performances in terms of their output of Highly Cited Papers. A Highly Cited Paper is a measure of excellence and can show what percentage of an institution’s output is among the most impactful in the world.

Since 2006, Germany has published 15,310 Highly Cited Papers while Italy has published 7,730.

germany v italy highly cited

The top three Essential Science Indicators (ESI) research fields in which both Germany and Italy have published the most Highly Cited Papers are Clinical Medicine followed by Physics and Chemistry. A slight differentiation appears on the fourth and fifth category ranks; Germany’s top fourth and fifth ESI research fields are Plant & Animal Science and Biology & Biochemistry, while Italy’s research strength by this measure moves towards Engineering and Molecular Biology & Genetics.

ger v ita



Host nation France takes on surprise quarter-finalists and tournament minnows Iceland. Not to be underestimated, Iceland breezed past England to secure its first-ever quarter-finals appearance at a major international tournament. France, on the other hand, were slow to get going during the group stage but, having the home advantage and Dimitri Payet, must surely be serious contenders for the trophy. Let’s see now the strengths and opportunities of both countries in the areas in which they publish the most. For this exercise, we will use the Category Normalized Citation Impact (CNCI). If CNCI exceeds 1.00, then the country’s papers are performing above the world average in impact. If it is less than 1.00, then it is performing below the world average.

The top three research areas in which France-based researchers have published a significant number of papers are Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, followed by Engineering, Electrical & Engineering, and Materials Science, Multidisciplinary. In all the above areas, France is performing over the world average.


The top three research areas in which researchers in Iceland publish most prolifically are Geosciences, Multidisciplinary, followed by Genetics & Heredity, and  Geochemistry & Geophysics. Even though Iceland’s output is much smaller, in all of the above areas Iceland is performing above the world average, showing particularly strong performance in Genetics & Heredity, where papers from Iceland-based researchers demonstrate an average impact 4.7 times higher than the average paper in the field.


We’ll be giving our InCites into the Euros for the remainder of the tournament, so be sure to follow along here on the blog and on Twitter using #EuroInCites.


Did you miss any of our EuroInCites posts? Catch up now:
International Collaboration at the European Championship
Measuring Research Impact at the European Championship
International Co Authors at the European Championship
Scorecard of the European Championship
Scientific Productivity at the European Championship