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IMI research maintains strong publication performance

Between them, IMI projects have produced almost 10 000 papers, and their quality matches their quantity, with many papers achieving high citation rates.

19 July 2023
Edge-on view of the pages of some books or journals. Image by Flegere via Shutterstock.
Image by Flegere via Shutterstock.

As part of its efforts to track the outputs and impacts of its projects, the IHI Programme Office carries out an annual analysis of the scientific publications produced by its projects. The latest report, compiled by Clarivate Analytics, looks at all papers published by Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) projects up until the end of 2022. It shows that as of the end of last year, IMI projects had published 9 874 papers. Since 2018, IMI projects have consistently produced over 1 000 papers every year. The papers cover a range of subject areas, including neuroscience, pharmacology, biochemistry, endocrinology, rheumatology, psychiatry, oncology, infectious diseases, genetics, and more.

The report also explores how often other papers cite IMI papers in their research. The ‘citation impact’ of all IMI papers is 2.03, which is twice the world average (set as a baseline of 1) and a lot higher than the EU average (1.16). Furthermore, around a quarter (24.6%) of IMI project papers are highly cited; meaning the papers are in the world’s top 10% of papers when ranked by number of citations (taking journal category and year of publication into account).

According to Clarivate, these figures suggest that IMI-funded research is ‘internationally influential’. IMI’s citation impact of 2.03 also places it in the same league as other major research funding bodies such as Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (1.66), the US Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) (1.83), the UK’s Medical Research Council (2.09), and the Wellcome Trust (2.07).

“When IMI started, some academics expressed concerns that working with the industry would hamper their ability to publish scientific papers on project results. This report once again shows that in terms of both quality and quantity, IMI projects continue to be prolific publishers,” said IHI Executive Director ad interim Dr Hugh Laverty. “Furthermore the knowledge contained in the papers is helping to advance research in diverse ways.”

The report also highlights the collaborative nature of IMI-funded research. A large majority (86%) of IMI project papers involve collaboration between different institutions, and two thirds (65%) were internationally collaborative. Furthermore, 67% of papers were co-authored by researchers from different sectors, with the sectors being defined as medical (e.g. healthcare organisations), corporate, academic, government, and other (which includes patient organisations and non-governmental organisations). Crucially, papers with collaborative co-authorship had a citation impact some 50% higher than non-collaborative papers (2.56 vs 1.55 for institutions; 2.68 vs 1.74 for countries; and 2.69 vs 1.74 for sectors).

Finally, over three quarters (78.3%) of all IMI papers published from 2010 to 2022 are open access. Meanwhile, the proportion of open access IMI papers has been rising over the years, and has been in the 85-90% range since 2020.