Advanced Research Computing Boosts Quality of Canadian Research

Canadian science that uses advanced research computing (ARC) is having a bigger impact globally than the world average. The report released for the first time this year, Increasing Canadian Research Impact: A Bibliometric Study of Compute Canada Enabled Research, examined the scientific output of more than 2,300 Canadian faculty members who are active Compute Canadians. It studied nearly 16,000 publications reported by their authors as having been enabled by the use of Compute Canada resources and found that they consistently outranked other Canadian publications in the same discipline or from authors at the same institutions when it comes to scientific impact.

To determine impact, the report used the metric known as Field-Weighted Citation Impact, which is the ratio of the total citations received divided by the average for the subject field. For example, a score of 1.6 means that a paper received 60% more citations than the world average for that discipline.

Greater Than the World Average by a Factor of 2

Across all disciplines, the study found that Compute Canada-enabled research received citations greater than the world average by a factor of 2. The highest impact, by far, was multidisciplinary research, with an impact above 5. ARC has traditionally been dominated by compute-intensive fields such as engineering, physics and astronomy. But this study found the impact from using Compute Canada resources greatest in the social sciences, arts and humanities — fields where ARC adoption is not yet widespread. Publications in these disciplines demonstrated an impact factor of more than 3.

The study also found that Compute Canada-enabled publications generally had a greater impact than non-Compute Canada publications at the same institutions. The review found that, in all cases, the Compute Canada-enabled impact factor exceeded the overall institutional average at 11 major Canadian universities.