May 21, 2022

New Journal Article: “Measuring Researcher Independence Using Bibliometric Data: A Proposal for a New Performance Indicator”

The following article was recently published by PLoS One.


Measuring Researcher Independence Using Bibliometric Data: A Proposal for a New Performance Indicator


Peter van den Besselaar
Network Institute and Department of Organization Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Ulf Sandström
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden


PLoS One
PLoS ONE 14(3): e0202712


Bibliometric indicators are increasingly used to evaluate individual scientists–as is exemplified by the popularity of the many other publication and citation-based indicators used in evaluation. These indicators, however, cover at best some of the quality dimensions relevant for assessing a researcher: productivity and impact. At the same time, research quality has more dimensions than productivity and impact alone. As current bibliometric indicators are not covering various important quality dimensions, we here contribute to developing better indicators for those quality dimensions not yet addressed. One of the quality dimensions lacking valid indicators is an individual researcher’s independence. We propose indicators to measure different aspects of independence: two assessing whether a researcher has developed an own collaboration network and two others assessing the level of thematic independence. Taken together they form an independence indicator. We illustrate how these indicators distinguish between researchers that are equally productive and have a considerable impact. The independence indicator is a step forward in evaluating individual scholarly quality.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.