New Report: The UK’s Performance in Physics Research – National and international perspectives

Published on May 15 2014

The Institute of Physics (IOP), in collaboration with the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), sought to commission a comprehensive assessment of the performance and impact of UK physics research in order to demonstrate its value at the highest level.

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Compare the UK’s physics research output with that of leading countries and other scientific disciplines
  • Compare the UK’s physics research impact with that of leading countries and other scientific disciplines
  • Explore patterns of international collaboration among UK physics researchers
  • Identify the determinants of UK physics research success and its impacts

This report, prepared by Science-Metrix made use of a portfolio of established data collection methods, encompassing both primary and secondary sources, in order to answer nine study questions in full, supported by concrete evidence and rigorous analysis: 

  • Bibliometric methods were used to compile robust data on research output, impact, and collaboration in physics research, its sub-areas as well as in related research areas in the UK and other leading countries. The bibliometric study used indicators based on counts of scientific papers and citations to papers (e.g., number of papers, specialisation index (SI), average of relative citations (ARC), average of relative impact factors (ARIF), international and national collaboration rates).
  • Interviews (12) were carried out with UK physics researchers, active in four UK physics research sub-areas, to discuss the impacts of their research.
  • Case studies (4) focussed on these sub-areas in order to compile and compare information on the variety of impacts from UK-based research.

The project took place over a span of 16 months (December 2012 to March 2014). The bibliometric indicators are based on counts of scientific papers and citations to papers indexed in the Web of Science database produced by Thomson Reuters.

Read the report and the key findings:

  • The UK’s Performance in Physics Research : National and international perspectives
    [PDF] – Full report