2.2 Case Studies
Case Study: North Carolina
When one talks about ground-breaking research in medicine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota first come to mind due to their strong medical schools and hospital systems, including Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals, and the Mayo Clinic. Based on its performance along multiple research metrics, North Carolina should also be included in that conversation.
North Carolina ranked third among all states (and first in the south) in terms of the relative volume of research in medicine, producing 35 percent more than the U.S. average. As Figure 2.3 shows below, relative to the U.S. average, the distribution of North Carolina’s research skews strongly toward the health sciences.
From 2004 to 2013, North Carolina’s field-weighted citation impact in medicine was 2.15, fourth among all states and trailing only Maryland, Massachusetts and Georgia. As Figure 2.4 shows, North Carolina’s field-weighted citation impact in medicine was the highest across all other fields for the state, outpacing the field-weighted citation impact in fields that more closely align with major companies in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region for economics and finance (1.95), biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology (1.76) and computer science (1.75).
In addition to marketing itself as a hub for finance, life sciences and technology, these indicators suggest that the state can also showcase its strengths in medicine.
Figure 2.3— Relative Volume of North Carolina’s Research Output Across Fields, 2004–2013. Source: Scopus®
Figure 2.4—Field-Weighted Citation Impact Versus Relative Volume of North Carolina’s Research Output Across Fields, 2004–2013. Source: Scopus®
Case Study: New York
When people think of tech meccas, they usually think of California and Silicon Valley, the greater Seattle area and Microsoft or Boston/Cambridge and Route 128. New York’s Silicon Alley should increasingly be added to that conversation.
From 2004–2013, New York achieved a relative volume of 1.18 in computer science, fourth among all states. Compared to New York’s research in other fields, its relative volume in computer science ranked second after only neuroscience (1.23). New York’s 62,200 publications comprised 13.6 percent of all U.S. publications in computer science, second only to California, which had 96,996 publications and 21.2 percent of the U.S. publication share. Those 62,200 publications comprised 11.1 percent of all research output by New York.
At 1.89, the field-weighted citation impact of New York’s research in computer science ranked 10th among all states and 4th among all research fields for New York.
All of these indicators suggest that New York has a distinct research advantage in computer science. As Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley detail in their book, “The Metropolitan Revolution,” New York City has already identified computer science and related areas as a distinct strength to further build on. New York City’s Applied Science Initiative is a good example of how city leaders identified research areas in which the city had a growing strength and then made additional investments in those areas.
Katz and Bradley note, “For its part, New York City already had a few tech clusters—some quite established, others just emerging. There was what one report called ‘a better than average foundation of [information technology] and biotech companies that could easily be built upon’ as well as a large and growing digital media sector. Since these and many of the city’s other clusters, such as fashion, media, and health care, needed engineering and technical talent, the NYEDC [New York City Economic Development Corporation] concluded that the game changer they were looking for would be a new science and engineering graduate campus.”15
After a year-long competition in which universities around the world were invited to submit proposals to build campuses, the city actually moved forward with three ideas —a joint Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology graduate school on Roosevelt Island, a New York University campus called the Center for Urban Science and Progress, and Columbia University’s new Institute of Data Sciences and Engineering.
Similar to Figure 2.4, Figure 2.5 plots the relative volume versus the field-weighted citation impact of New York’s research outputs across different fields. While New York achieves a field-weighted citation impact well above the world and U.S. national average in most research fields, those in the upper right quadrant of the graph—medicine; computer science; economics, econometrics and finance; and neuroscience —are fields in which the state has a critical mass of highly impactful research. They are the most promising areas for the state to further invest in and showcase its research strengths.
Figure 2.5— Field-Weighted Citation Impact Versus Relative Volume of New York’s Research Output Across Subject Areas, 2004–2013. Source: Scopus®
Case Study: Arkansas
Research in business, management, & accounting comprised 3.4 percent of all research output from Arkansas, but the state has a distinct comparative advantage in this field.
Buoyed by the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, the relative volume of Arkansas’s research from 2004–2013 in this field was 1.54, the fourth highest among all fields for Arkansas. Only research in agricultural & biological sciences; veterinary sciences; and pharmacology, toxicology, & pharmaceutics had a higher relative volume in Arkansas.
The state’s relative volume in business, management & accounting ranked second among all states in the U.S.; only Oklahoma had a higher level at 1.65. In addition, Arkansas’s annual research output in this area grew by 10.67% per year, from 49 publications in 2004 to 122 in 2013.
Arkansas’s research in business, management, & accounting was quite impactful, achieving a field-weighted citation impact of 2.05, the fourth highest level among all states in this field. Only Arizona (2.33), New Hampshire (2.29), and Massachusetts (2.21) achieved higher levels. Likewise, as Figure 2.6 shows, across other fields for Arkansas, only the state’s research output in decision sciences (a closely-related field) attained a higher field-weighted citation impact.
Given the high location-relative concentration of farming, fishing, and forestry occupations in Arkansas,16 it is not surprising that research in agricultural & biological sciences comprised 16.7% of the state’s total research output (and a relative volume of 2.36, the highest across all fields for Arkansas). However, as Figure 2.6 demonstrates, the field-weighted citation impact of Arkansas’s research in agricultural & biological sciences was 1.12, slightly above the world average of 1.00 and below the national average of 1.41.
Figure 2.6— Field-Weighted Citation Impact of Arkansas’ s Research Output Across Fields, 2004–2013. Fields with an asterisk (*) or caret (^) indicate that the total output of the state in that field was less than 100 publications in 2004 or 2013 respectively. Source: Scopus®
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