Bibliometrics – a measure of the quality of research

The Swedish Research Council analyses statistics on the scientific publications produced by researchers. As a part of this, we calculate the extent to which researchers' results are cited, that is to say how much other researchers use them. Our analysis forms the basis for the Government's allocation of state funds to research.

We monitor the results of the research by producing and analysing statistics on the scientific publications produced by researchers in Sweden. This way of measuring the results of research and the growth of science is called bibliometrics. The concept involves a quantitative analysis of publications, the ‘library’ of scientific publications that the research has given rise to.

Bibliometrics and research quality

Bibliometrics play an important role in the discussion about research quality, both nationally and internationally. There are different opinions about how the quality of research should be measured and monitored. Different systems have emerged in different countries. The Swedish Research Council's position is that bibliometrics should be seen as a complement to quality assessment that peer review entails.

Our publication database

We base our bibliometric analyses on a database of content that corresponds to the international publication database, Web of Science.

Within medicine and natural sciences, the database has generally good coverage, while research in the humanities and parts of the social sciences is not as well represented.

We work continuously to improve the quality of the information in the database related to publications from researchers in Sweden.

We create a basis for the Government's allocation of research funding

Since 2009, the Government has used bibliometrics as an indicator for the allocation of parts of the state funding going to higher education institutions (HEIs) for research and researcher training. It is the Swedish Research Council that delivers the basis for allocation to the Government.

We calculate a bibliometric index for each HEI. The index is based on a computation of how many articles researchers at the HEI have published, and how many times the articles have been cited. The calculation also includes an estimate of the average number of articles a researcher publishes within different subject areas. Publications from the last four years are included in the computations.

Our latest allocation basis (in Swedish) Excel, 104.1 kB.

Guidelines for using bibliometrics at the Swedish Research Council Pdf, 366.4 kB.

About our publication database Pdf, 356.3 kB.



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Analysis and evaluation


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