In a blog post early in 2018, we reported that Poland, in response to objectives promulgated by the nation’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education in order to improve research performance, had launched a pilot program involving the Web of Science. At 80 top Polish research institutions, the existing Web of Science license was expanded to include InCites, the tool for benchmarking and analytics.
The passage of a year brings an update: For the elite institutions, access to InCites proved highly popular. Between October and November of 2018, for example, the collective tally of InCites sessions at the institutions increased by more than 100%.
In fact, in view of the utility of InCites in assessing the research performance of individuals, institutions, and nations or regions, the Ministry moved before the end of 2018 to upgrade the license and make InCites available at the national level. Upwards of 450 universities, research institutions, and funding agencies now have access to InCites and its array of evaluative metrics.
This expanded access marks another step toward the Ministry’s realization of the goals outlined in its 2017 report, Peer Review of Poland’s Higher Education and Science System. As the report observes: “On the road towards excellent science, a key element is the reorientation from an overly bureaucratic exercise into an instrument that enhances research impact, rather than the current system which is output-oriented and used for funding allocation purposes.” The text specifies three pillars: “(i) an assessment of research performance; (ii) a careful evaluation of the impact of research, taking consideration the field-specific needs; and (iii) regular international peer review, covering all fields and institutions.”
These objectives befit a nation endeavoring to build on an already substantial presence in world science. According to Essential Science Indicators, another analytic resource available in the Web of Science, Poland ranks 21st in the world in production of documents indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection between 2009 and 2018. The nation displays a particular concentration in the physical sciences, with the greatest numbers of papers indexed in the Web of Science categories covering materials science, physical chemistry, and electrical and electronic engineering.
The expanded access to InCites will permit Poland’s institutions to participate in attaining the goals specified by the Ministry: Highlighting centers of excellence; allowing all research institutions to identify and develop their strengths and address shortcomings; pointing the way to productive collaborations; and incentivizing superior performance.
InCites analytics, combined with Essential Science Indicators, Journal Citation Reports, EndNote, Publons, and Kopernio, make the Web of Science a powerful suite of resources to inform, organize, and evaluate all phases of the research life cycle.