Measuring researcher independence using bibliometric data: A proposal for a new performance indicator

Peter van den Besselaar*, Ulf Sandström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0202712
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring researcher independence using bibliometric data: A proposal for a new performance indicator'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this