“Having access to national shared resources for materials research, including neutron beams, enhances scientific impact.”
Date: Oct 23, 2018
Source: Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC)
Analysis of citations of scientific papers is commonly used in the research community to estimate scientific impact. Science-Metrix, an independent firm specializing in the assessment of science and technology activities, was commissioned by the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC) to analyze citations of papers arising from access to this unique national resource.
The Science-Metrix study examined citations from 1600 publications arising from that facility since 1980, the date from which the global citation data is available. The CNBC traces its full publication list of 2300 papers back to 1947, when Canadian scientists were pioneering the field of using neutron beams to study materials at the National Research Experimental (NRX) reactor in Chalk River, ON. This early work led to Bert Brockhouse’s Nobel Prize in Physics and ultimately to a global community that continues to employ neutron beams as versatile and irreplaceable research tools to study materials needed for the 21st century.
“The CNBC’s performance between 1980 and 2017 can be described as a steady output of papers of a high quality that incrementally improved over time,” writes Science-Metrix in its report.
Science-Metrix benchmarked the CNBC’s results against major neutron beam facilities in the USA and Europe, and against other major research facilities in Canada that perform materials research.
“The results show that having access to national shared resources for materials research, including neutron beams, enhances scientific impact,” says John Root, the Director of the CNBC, commenting on Science-Metrix’s finding that citation rates of all these facilities were above the world average.
The study also found that the users of the CNBC had a scientific impact that is well above world average and is competitive both with other Canadian facilities for materials research, and with neutron beam facilities abroad.
We can be proud of sustaining high quality science for 70 years.
“It is well-known that neutron scattering at Chalk River had a major scientific impact in the early decades. This report shows that we continued to have a high level of impact up to the recent closure of our neutron source, the NRU reactor. We can be proud of sustaining high quality science for 70 years,” Root concludes.
The CNBC is now in a wind down mode. Reflecting on what this means for the future of Canadian science, Thad Harroun, President of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering, which represents researchers across Canada, says, “The fact that all neutron labs have an above average impact globally, across so many fields of research, shows how important neutron scattering is as a scientific tool. This report shows that Canadian science will be diminished by the loss of the CNBC, and we need action now to restore this tool for researchers.”