Landmark Paper Compares Scientific Productivity and Impact of the Top 100 Alzheimer's Disease Investigators

10 March 2009

Amsterdam, The NetherlandsIOS Press is pleased to announce the publication of a landmark study in which both traditional and highly-innovative scientometric approaches are employed to measure scientific productivity and impact of the top 100 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) investigators. The article appears in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

The field of AD research, which marked its centennial in 2006, has progressed at a rapid rate since the late 1970s. Considering the broader field of neuroscience, of the estimated 135,000 actively publishing scientists worldwide, roughly 18% (or 25,000), have published one or more papers on AD. In spite of the increasing share of neuroscience activity focusing on AD, there has not been a comprehensive, objective analysis of AD research through scientometrics.

This milestone analysis has been conducted by Aaron A. Sorensen, Life Sciences Solutions Leader, Collexis Holdings, Inc. While the paper uses traditional bibliometric techniques to rank investigators, Sorensen proposes extensions and, in some cases, entirely new metrics to fill the gaps left when traditional tools lack the discriminatory power for highly-granular differentiation among investigators with equal or near-equal, traditional impact measures.

Aaron Sorensen commented, "As part of my job, I spend a significant amount of time talking with organizations such as the NIH, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan Medical School and the Wellcome Trust, all of which have the common interest of using advanced scientometrics to make strategic decisions regarding biomedical research. As a result of these interactions, I have developed, over time, a mental model of how one might conduct a comprehensive and innovative analysis of the top scientists within an entire investigative branch. As I began to consider which field I might choose as the first on which conduct an analysis, I decided that it should be an area within biomedicine which has generated interest beyond the community of stakeholders (e.g., patients, doctors, pharmaceutical companies) directly affected by it. In other words, I wanted to choose a field that would hold some level of interest in public-health and health-policy conversations. With the graying of the entire industrialized world, Alzheimer’s disease was the natural choice to be the first area of analysis.”

The study does not rely solely on bibliometrics. In addition to bibliometric analyses of the neuroscientists, winners of two prestigious AD-research awards are highlighted, membership to the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences is acknowledged and an analysis of highly-productive, high-impact, AD research duos is presented.

According to Sorensen, "Hopefully this paper will be the first of many to help establish a common set of tools and methods which can be used in pragmatic ways by decision makers within the biomedical research enterprise. A conscious effort was made to include real examples of how the more innovative metrics might be employed and interpreted in order to stimulate hypothesis generation among the readership."

The article is “Alzheimer’s Disease Research: Scientific Productivity and Impact of the Top 100 Investigators in the Field” by Aaron A. Sorensen. It is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 16/Issue 3 (March 2009).

Editor’s note: Because of the importance of this study to the broader community, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease is making it freely available in electronic format on March 10, 2009 at:

Contact: Astrid Engelen
IOS Press