Performance Indicators of German Max Planck Institutes

Felix de Moya Anegon. In the previous post on Performance Indicators of Spanish CSIC Research Institutes, we started up a series of posts intended to characterize, through scientometric methods, the research activity carried out at the large government organizations and leading national scientific institutions (National Research Councils and Science Academies), mainly in countries from Europe and Asia. We now turn to the German Max Planck Society and its research institutes (Max Planck Institutes, MPIs). The Max Planck Society is not a government institution; it is a registered association and has its registered seat in Berlin. As of January 1, 2011, the Max Planck Society promotes research in 80 own institutes and research facilities; four institutes and one research facility are situated abroad. The following table (in PDF format) shows scientometric indicators of research output, citation impact and international collaboration related to MPIs based on Elsevier’s Scopus database. Its main goal is not to rank MPIs, but to highlight some of the differential characteristics in regard to the research outcomes achieved by these institutes.

In order to show trends, the table includes three consecutive 5-year periods (2003-2007, 2004-2008 and 2005-2009). Ordering criteria is the output of the MPIs during the period 2005-2009. The institutes are color-marked to indicate which ones have Normalized Impact (NI) values higher than the NI average over all MPIs, which surpass German NI average (but fall below MPIs average) and which ones fall below German NI average.

The following table provide some background information by showing the same four indicators and periods that you will find in the PDF report, but referred to Max Planck entire organisation and to Germany:

MAX PLANCK Output % IC NI % Q1
2003-2007 46,111 64.1 1.8 73.5
2004-2008 48,338 64.5 1.8 72.7
2005-2009 50,038 65.0 1.8 72.2
GERMANY Output % IC NI % Q1
2003-2007 577,881 41.2 1.3 52.6
2004-2008 609,033 42.1 1.3 52.3
2005-2009 634,385 43.1 1.3 52.0

The indicators exposed are the following:


The output or number of scientific papers published in scholarly journals reveals the ability of an institution to produce scientific knowledge. Output values are affected by institution sizes and research profiles, among others factors. The Output indicator forms the basis for more complex metrics. At co-authored publications a score is assigned to each contributing institution through the author’s institutional address.

International Collaboration IC(%)

This indicator shows the ability of institutions to create international research links through the output ratio that has been produced in collaboration with foreign institutions. The values are computed by analyzing the institution’s output whose affiliations include more than one country address.

Normalized Impact NI

Normalized Impact scores indicate the scientific impact that institutions have over the scientific community. In order to obtain a fair measurement of such impact, its calculation removes the influence due to institutions’ size and research profile making it ideal for comparing research performance. Normalized Impact values show the ratio between the average scientific impact of an institution and the world average impact of publications of the same time frame, document type and subject category. The values are expressed in percentages and show the relationship of the institution’s average impact to the world average, which is 1, –i.e. a score of 0.8 means the institution is cited 20% below world average and 1.3 means the institution is cited 30% above world average. Normalized Impact is computed using the methodology established by the Karolinska Intitutet in Sweden where it is named “Item oriented field normalized citation score average”. The long name used is because the normalization of the citation values is done on an individual article level. Further information on the methodology at Bibliometric Handbook for Karolinska Institutet .

High Quality Publications Q1(%)

Ratio of publications an institution publishes in the world most influential scholarly journals. Journals considered for this indicator are those ranked in the first quartile (25%) in their categories as ordered by SCImago Journal Rank SJR indicator.


Félix de Moya Anegón is Research Professor at the Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP) from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), his academic interests include scientometrics, bibliometrics, research evaluation and science policy; he has published around 100 papers in these fields. He is SCImago Research Group‘s main researcher, where he has led renowned bibliometic projects including Scimago Journal & Country Rank, Scimago Institution Rankings and The Atlas of Science. Prof. De Moya is also advisor for Science Policy issues for national organizations of science and technology and research institutions around the world.

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