International comparative performance of the Welsh research base 2013

Higher Education Wales, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Welsh Government commissioned Elsevier to assess the performance of the Welsh research base when compared to the other UK constituent countries (Scotland, England and Northern Ireland) and research countries of comparable size (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and New Zealand). It tracks investment in, and performance of, the Welsh research system in an international setting, combining a variety of indicators to present a multifaceted view of the Welsh comparative performance in research as well as the trends that may affect its future position.

The report, 'International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base – 2013,' is the first report to focus solely on Wales, after two similar reports commissioned by the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills for the UK research base, to be delivered by Elsevier.

Generated by Elsevier's Analytical Services team, the report's main themes were explored through literature reviews, and data analyses from a range of sources including Scopus data, SciVal competency maps, R&D expenditure and human capital data from the OECD and patent information from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The core findings

The findings of the report can be highlighted under several themes:

  • Welsh research is of high quality and efficient - with 0.14% of the world's researchers, and 0.30% of the world's published articles in 2011, Wales accounts for 0.49% of global citations, 0.70% of the top 1% highest cited articles, and 0.85% of all references to journal publications from patents.

  • Wales punches well above its weight in terms of research income compared to research outputs, efficiency and impact.

  • Wales' research results in field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) of 58% above world average.

  • Welsh researchers collaborate internationally more frequently than those in other UK constituents.

  • Researchers in Wales show the highest mobility among constituent countries.

Figure 1: Absolute share of key input and output indicators.
Figure 1: Publications per researcher (2011) and citations per researcher (2007-2011), field-weighted citation impact (2011), percentage of output in the top 1% highest cited articles (2011), field-weighted download impact (2011), and patent citations (2010).
Figure 2: Researcher Mobility for Wales, 1996-2012.
Figure 2: Researcher Mobility for Wales, 1996-2012. Source: Scopus