, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 563–574 | Cite as

A ranking of universities should account for differences in their disciplinary specialization

  • Carmen López-Illescas
  • Félix de Moya-Anegón
  • Henk F. Moed


A bibliometric analysis of the 50 most frequently publishing Spanish universities shows large differences in the publication activity and citation impact among research disciplines within an institution. Gini Index is a useful measure of an institution’s disciplinary specialization and can roughly categorize universities in terms of general versus specialized. A study of the Spanish academic system reveals that assessment of a university’s research performance must take into account the disciplinary breadth of its publication activity and citation impact. It proposes the use of graphs showing not only a university’s article production and citation impact, but also its disciplinary specialization. Such graphs constitute both a warning and a remedy against one-dimensional approaches to the assessment of institutional research performance.


University rankings Disciplinary specialization Academic systems Spanish academic system Institutional research performance Bibliometrics 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen López-Illescas
    • 1
  • Félix de Moya-Anegón
    • 1
  • Henk F. Moed
    • 2
  1. 1.SCImago Unit, IPP, CCHS, CSIC, Spanish National Research CouncilMadridSpain
  2. 2.ElsevierAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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