Advanced Research Computing boosts quality of Canadian research: New study


Edmonton, AB (June 20, 2016) – Canadian science that uses advanced research computing (ARC) is having a bigger impact globally than the world average, according to a new study released today by Compute Canada at the High Performance Computing Symposium in Edmonton. Entitled Increasing Canadian Research Impact: A Bibliometric Study of Compute Canada Enabled Research, the report examined the scientific output of more than 2,300 Canadian faculty members who are active Compute Canada users. 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 institution when it comes to scientific impact.

Click to view full report.

“The bottom line is that the scientific impact of university research is significantly increased, on average by double, when that research uses advanced research computing resources from Compute Canada,” says Mark Dietrich, President and CEO of Compute Canada. “Academics, and the impact of their research, are often assessed on how frequently their papers are cited. Our study shows that journal articles, where the underlying research takes advantage of advanced research computing, demonstrate significantly higher citation rates. Given the large number of publications examined, the results were more dramatic than even we expected.”

In academic institutions around the world, a growing number of scientific disciplines are relying on high performance computing to conduct data-intensive, computational research to solve problems they couldn’t solve before. This new study sheds light on how important advanced computing is to all fields of research.

“Having a state-of-the-art ARC infrastructure means Canada can attract and retain the best scientific minds,” says Dr. Dugan O’Neil, Compute Canada’s Chief Science Officer. “These critical resources also are driving unprecedented innovation across many sectors, including mining and energy, aerospace, drug development and medical technologies, and clean tech. As this report demonstrates, ARC is critical to excellence science and transformative innovation.”

Across all disciplines, the study found that Compute Canada-enabled research received citations greater than both the Canadian and world average—by a factor of 2. The highest impact, by far, was multidisciplinary research, with an impact above 5, which means this category received 500% more citations than the world average.

ARC has traditionally been dominated by data-intensive fields such as 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.

“Compute Canada has worked closely with the social sciences and humanities community to raise awareness of the benefits of ARC and how they can use these tools to advance their research. These fields are now among our fastest growing in terms of user base,” says O’Neil.

The study also found that Compute Canada-enabled publications generally have a greater impact than the 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.

About the study

The study identified more than 70,000 scientific outputs (including journal and conference publications) produced since 2010 by reviewing the CVs of more than 2,300 researchers. Of those outputs, nearly half had been enabled by Compute Canada. 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 disciplines.

Click to view full report.

About Compute Canada

Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the a Compute Canada acceleration of research and innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions. Together we provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors. Our world-class team of more than 200 experts employed by 35 partner universities and research institutions across the country provide direct support to research teams. Compute Canada is a proud ambassador for Canadian excellence in advanced research computing nationally and internationally.

For more information please contact

Kelly Nolan
Executive Director, External Affairs
Compute Canada

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