K99-R00 Publication Analysis-Part 5-NIH Funding

Oct 24 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

In analyzing the publication patterns of K99-R00 awardees, one crucial factor is the amount of funding that each investigator has obtained to support his/her research. Each K99-Roo investigator likely has received a comparable level of support through the K99-R00 mechanism itself. However, different investigators have been more or less successful in garnering other NIH support such as R01s or other grants. This information can be relatively easily gathered through NIH RePORTER. This is only part of the funding story as each investigator likely received start-up funds as part of their transition from postdoc to independent faculty member. Furthermore, some investigators likely have been able to obtain other sources of funding such as NSF and private foundations. With those disclaimers, below is a plot of the number of publications versus the total amount of NIH support obtained beginning with the K99 award in 2007 and extending to the present (not including funding from grants with co-PIs which affects a few investigators).

Pubs-Funding plot

Sharp-eyed readers may note the absence of the investigator with the most (95) publications from my initial post on this subject. This investigator only received funding through the R00 phase before moving to a position in Europe so I removed this data point from the plot. The correlation coefficient for this parameters is 0.30. The correlation improves slightly t0 0.32 if each publication is weighted by 1/number of authors as described in the previous post.

This plot includes all publications for each investigators. However, publications prior to receiving the K99 award were not supported by these funds. Below is a plot of publications from 2008-present versus total NIH support.

Pubs-2008 vs Funding Plot

Restricting the results to these publications results in the correlation coefficient increasing slightly to 0.33.

These data support the not-at-all-surprising conclusion that the total number of publications is roughly associated with the amount of financial support for the research. The lack of better correlation likely involves a combination of factors including the absence of information about start-up funds and non-NIH support, the different costs of research in different fields, and differences in publication styles between investigators.

2 responses so far

  • eeke says:

    You might get a tighter correlation if the publication date is 2009 or later. In my field, it can take 6-12 months from submission of a manuscript to publication. It's hard to believe that new investigators would be publishing work that was conducted in their own labs within one year.

  • jmz4 says:

    I wonder how this would change if you weighted/excluded the analysis to last author/first author publications. You'd think that would correlate better with R funding metrics. I know a couple K99ers who end up on papers in the middle because they were prolific and/or good mentors in their old labs.

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