Canadian Cancer Society-funded researchers among the best in Canada

01 August 2010

August 2010 Researchers funded by the Canadian Cancer Society are making a bigger scientific impact than other researchers in Canada, according to a recent study. The study, an evaluation of the Society’s research grants program, found that researchers funded by the Society publish more papers, publish these papers in the most prestigious scientific journals and are referenced more often by other researchers.

Specifically, the study found that papers published by researchers funded by the Society had a higher scientific impact than papers published by Canadian researchers in all fields. Scientific impact refers to the number of times a published paper is referenced by other papers, as well as the quality of the journal in which papers are published. Interestingly, Canadian researchers overall already rank second in scientific impact among researchers around the world, meaning that Society-funded researchers are among an outstanding group of scientists.

“The findings of this evaluation show that researchers funded by the Society are having a substantial impact and that they’re producing results that other researchers are listening to,” says Dr Christine Williams, Director of Research, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. “Just as important, it also shows that the Society’s world-renowned peer-review system, well recognized for its rigor, is picking the best researchers and the best studies.”

Researchers funded by the Society were also found to be particularly productive. Society-funded researchers were responsible for 33% of Canadian papers published in cancer-related journals despite the fact that the Society awards only about 11% of all funds for cancer research in Canada.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Researchers published papers with a higher scientific impact when receiving Society funding than when they were not receiving Society funding.
  • Researchers were more productive while receiving funding from the Society than when not receiving funding from the Society.

“With these findings, we can demonstrate to donors that their investment is really supporting researchers that are the best in the country and among the best in the world,” says Dr Williams. “It also reinforces the message that supporting the Canadian Cancer Society is the most impactful way to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

The evaluation, called a bibliometric analysis, looks at data drawn from peer-reviewed publications to provide a measurement of scientific output (the number of papers published) and scientific impact (the number of times a paper is referenced and the quality of the journal in which it is published).

The study looked at successful research grant applicants between 1994 to 2006 while they were receiving funding from the Society and not receiving funding from the Society. The scientific output of Society-funded researchers was then measured against Canadian researchers as a whole.

The analysis was conducted for the Canadian Cancer Society by Science-Metrix, a company specializing in evaluation. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Evaluation.