The citing of a scholar's research (as represented by a published scientific paper) in another researcher's published work is viewed as a strong indication of the importance of the original work and the influence it might have. University officials, research administrators, and funding agencies often look to such statistics as one way to measure the impact of a particular research program, especially in the fields of science and engineering.
In a recent issue, Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published the Thomson Reuters list of the top American universities and how they rank in scientific paper citations, which is based on the quality of the research rather than quantity. UCSB is fourth in the nation in this category, behind only MIT, Caltech, and Princeton. Trailing UCSB were, in order, Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley.
The U.S. university average for citation impact from 2005-09 was 1.37 times the world average, which is defined as a rating of 1.0. UCSB's figure for the same period was 2.04 percent. In the Science article, the editors noted that "only six universities have held one of the top five places in the impact rankings since the 1980s." UCSB is one of those six, along with MIT, Caltech, Princeton, Stanford, and Harvard.
"Citation impact is widely accepted around the world as an important method for comparing the quality of research in science and engineering," said Michael Witherell, UCSB's vice chancellor for research. "UC Santa Barbara does better than any public university in the United States by this measure."
According to Thomson Reuters, the top 19 universities in relative citation impact for 2005-09 are: MIT, 2.28; Caltech, 2.18; Princeton, 2.11; UC Santa Barbara, 2.04; Stanford, 1.96; Harvard, 1.94; UC Berkeley, 1.92; University of Colorado, 1.86; University of Chicago, 1.85; University of Washington System, 1.82; University of Pennsylvania, 1.77; UC San Francisco, 1.76; Johns Hopkins, 1.74; Columbia, 1.74; UCLA, 1.74; Northwestern, 1.73; Boston University, 1.71; Yale, 1.71; and University of Rochester, 1.71.