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Charting the Publication and Citation Impact of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program From 2006 Through 2016

Llewellyn, Nicole, PhD; Carter, Dorothy R., PhD; Rollins, Latrice, PhD; Nehl, Eric J., PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002119
Research Reports

Purpose The authors evaluated publication and citation patterns for articles supported by Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) hub investment over the first decade of the CTSA program. The aim was to elucidate a pivotal step in the translational process by providing an account of how time, hub maturity, and hub attributes were related to productivity and influence in the academic literature.

Method In 2017, the authors collected bibliometric data from PubMed, Web of Science InCites, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) iCite for articles citing any CTSA hub grants published from hub inception through 2016. They compiled data on publication and citation rates and indices of relative citation impact aggregated by hub funding year cohort. They compared hub-level bibliometric activity by multi- versus single-institution structure and total monetary award sums, compiled from NIH RePORTER.

Results From 2006–2016, CTSA hubs supported over 66,000 publications, with publication rates accelerating as hubs matured. These publications accumulated over 1.2 million citations, with some articles cited over 1,000 times. Indices of relative citation impact indicated CTSA-supported publications were cited more than twice as often as expected for articles of their publication years and disciplines. Multi-institutional hubs and those awarded higher grant sums exhibited significantly higher publication and citation activity.

Conclusions The CTSA program is yielding a robust and growing body of influential research findings with consistently high indices of relative citation impact. Preliminary evidence suggests multi-institutional collaborations and more monetary resources are associated with elevated bibliometric activity and, therefore, may be worth their investment.

N. Llewellyn is manager of research projects, Evaluation and Continuous Improvement Program, Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1267-2720.

D.R. Carter is assistant professor, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, and member, Evaluation and Continuous Improvement Program, Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8480-1996.

L. Rollins is assistant director of evaluation and institutional assessment, Prevention Research Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, and member, Evaluation and Continuous Improvement Program, Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

E.J. Nehl is assistant research professor, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and director, Evaluation and Continuous Improvement Program, Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Funding/Support: This research was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR000454. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Nicole Llewellyn, Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance, Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, 1440 Clifton Rd. NE #138, Atlanta, GA 30322; telephone: (404) 727-9717; e-mail: Nicole.Llewellyn@emory.edu.

© 2018 by the Association of American Medical Colleges