Montana State University

MSU earns recognition for its scientific impact and collaboration

June 29, 2016 -- MSU News Service

For the third year in a row, MSU has earned recognition in a respected ranking system for its scientific impact and collaboration. The ranking is based on universities’ scientific contributions published in scholarly journals, as well as the impact that those scientific findings have on the international community. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

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For the third year running, Montana State University has received recognition in a respected ranking system for its scientific impact and collaboration.

The university earned a spot on the CWTS Leiden Ranking for 2016, which ordered the 842 universities in the world with the largest contributions in international scientific journals. MSU is one of only 173 U.S. universities to be included on the list. It is the only university in Montana to be recognized.

The ranking is based on universities’ scientific contributions published in scholarly journals, as well as the impact those scientific findings have on the international community. Impact is measured by the number of times the research is cited in subsequent articles published in scholarly journals.

MSU’s overall publication impact rank was 750, while its overall collaborations rank was 741. According to materials published by the Leiden Ranking, MSU had 1,178 published articles appear in the citation database it uses for the three years included in the ranking. In addition, about 10 percent of those articles were classified as “high-impact” under one of the ranking system’s measures.

MSU Interim Provost Robert Mokwa said that while rankings alone are not able to tell the complete story, this recognition is significant in that it demonstrates the scientific contributions and research being conducted at MSU have global significance.

“That Montana State University continues to be ranked among the world’s top universities for its research and scholarly impact is meaningful to the state and region, and a point of pride for our institution,” Mokwa said. “Being one of just 173 universities in the country to make this ranking is a testament to the quality of research conducted by our talented faculty and students.”

Renee Reijo Pera, MSU vice president for research and economic development, said the ranking shows that research and collaborations by MSU faculty and students continue to increase in output and significance.

“Over the past five years we have seen an increase in the number of publications and in the publications with a high impact in their fields,” Reijo Pera said. “Also increasing are the number of collaborative research efforts with international and national scholars.”

MSU scientists were among contributors to an international project that earlier this year led to the first direct detection of gravitational waves, a discovery that earned the team a Breakthrough Prize.

Other significant recent research findings have the potential to impact the world’s food supply, decrease summertime temperatures, eliminate genetic diseases and further the understanding of how viruses spread.

Reijo Pera noted that MSU faculty and students publish research findings in numerous major scholarly journals, including Cell, Nature, Science, the Journal of Virology, Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the International Journal of Arts and Sciences.

MSU consistently exceeds $100 million in research annually, Reijo Pera said.

The Leiden Ranking is based on 2011-2014 data from a leading bibliographic database, the Web of Science, produced by Thomson Reuters.

More information about the Leiden Ranking, including the full list, is available at the Leiden Ranking website.

Contact: Renee Reijo Pera, (406) 994-2891 or renee.reijopera@montana.edu

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