K99-R00 Publication Analysis-Part 2-IC Distributions

Oct 21 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

In response to comments on my recent post, I have examined the IC distribution of both numbers of publications and "high profile" publications prior to receiving the K99 award as a function of the funding institute or center. Recall that my analysis included only those K99 awardees who went on to receive an R00 award and for whom the investigator's name was unambiguous enough to allow relatively reliable retrieval of publications from PubMed. For several investigators, name changes had occurred over the period examined and these were accounted for where possible through web searches. The analysis reflects 135 K99 awardees out of the total of 182 K99 awardees for FY2007.

The numbers of publications by each investigator (black dots) organized by the funding IC along with the median for each IC (red bars) are shown below:

Pubs by IC

No dramatic trends are observed although, given that the number of K99 awardees per IC ranges from 1 to 20 with typical numbers less than 10, the sample sizes are too small to support any robust conclusions.

The numbers of K99 awardees with very high profile (Cell, Nature, Science, or NEJM) or high profile publications for each IC are tabulated below:

IC Total C, N, S, NEJM Other high profile pub
NCI 13 4 9
NIAID 7 3 3
NHLBI 20 2 8
NIGMS 11 3 4
NIDDK 9 2 3
NINDS 9 3 4
NIMH 7 2 1
NICHD 5 0 1
NCRR 4 2 0
NIA 6 3 2
NIDA 4 1 1
NIEHS 5 0 0
NEI 4 0 0
NIAMS 5 1 3
NHGRI 3 1 2
NIAAA 3 1 0
NIDCD 6 1 2
NIDCR 4 0 0
NLM 2 0 0
NIBIB 1 0 1
NINR 4 0 1
NCCAM 1 0 0
FIC 2 0 1

Here, more striking trends are apparent with all 13 analyzed awardees from NCI having a high profile publication in or prior to 2007. Similar results are observed for other large ICs (e.g. NIAID, 6/7; NHLBI, 10/20; NIGMS, 7/11). This supports the notion that a record of one or more high profile publication was very important for receiving a K99 award from some ICs or in some fields.

8 responses so far

  • drugmonkey says:

    Now for your next trick.....# of awardees / IC budget? Are NCI K99s more competitive?

    if we take the relative budgets as a rough indication of the pool of K99 applicants, NCI at $4.79B for FY2013 is 3.4 times the size of NIMH, 4.8 times the size of NIDA and 11 times size of NIAAA.

    NIMH should have 3.8 K99s (it has 7, 84% more); NIDA should have 2.7 (it has 4, 48% more) and NIAAA should have 1.2 (it has 3, 50% more). Even if you round up (whole awards, duh) you end up with 75% more, 33% more and 50% more than they deserve based on the NCI allocation of K99s. NHLBI, in this type of analysis, should have 8 K99s and it has 20. NIGMS should get 6, it has 11. NINDS should have 4, it gets 9. etc.

    Clearly getting a K99 from NCI is very difficult, if our assumption that budget is a decent approximation of the number of K99 applicants holds. We should consequently be unsurprised that artificial screens like CNS pubs carry much weight.

    Datahound, your comment about "other large ICs" is misplaced. NIAID, sure, but NHLBI is only at 50% high profile. NIDA matches that as does DDK, FIC, NIDCD, NCRR. NIMH not far behind at 43%. Other ICs beat 50% and some match 100%. Overall it is hard to see where size of the IC is of any particular use in determining the relative obligation to have a high profile publication. NCI is a clear outlier in the number of awards / budget.

    • datahound says:

      There were actually 20 K99s from NCI in 2007. However, some of the publication records were problematic for several reasons. Now that I know what I might want to analyze, I can dig in a bit more.

      When the K99 program was started, Dr. Zerhouni suggested a number of awards per IC based on budget. As I recall, there was mixed cooperation. After that, each IC has been on its own. I can look the number of awards over time.

  • becca says:

    Why does NIAID hate transitioning postdocs so much? EAT THE INFLAMMATION OLDES

  • Noncoding Arenay says:

    Thanks datahound, very interesting. Since this is only n=1 (2007) and the data is seven years old, it would be great to see how this has changed (or not) over time. Maybe years 2010 and 2013 as representative time points for applicants who successfully received K99s (regardless of whether they transitioned to R00 or not).

  • jmcin9 says:

    I'd be interested in the later analysis as well. One thing that was strongly suggested to me was the need for a publication in C/N/S/Other High profile journal. Although looking at the data for my IC it doesn't appear to have been as critical in 07.

  • Dave says:

    Not so myth-busting after all. I would love to see how this has changed over the last 5 years. Paylines for K99s were a little more generous earlier in the program.

  • […] of Clinical Investigation) publication during or prior to 2007. Following comments, I noted in a later post that the distribution was not uniform across investigators supported by the various NIH institutes […]

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