The Impact of Funding through the RF President’s Grants for Young Scientists (the field – Medicine) on Research Productivity: A Quasi-Experimental Study and a Brief Systematic Review
The impact of grants on research productivity has been investigated by a number of retrospective studies. The results of these studies vary considerably. The objective of my study was to investigate the impact of funding through the RF President’s grants for young scientists on the research productivity of awarded applicants. The study compared the number of total articles and citations for awarded and rejected applicants who in 2007 took part in competitions for young candidates of science (CoS’s) and doctors of science (DoS’s) in the scientific field of medicine. The bibliometric analysis was conducted for the period from 2003 to 2012 (five years before and after the competition). The source of bibliometric data is the eLIBRARY.RU database. The impact of grants on the research productivity of Russian young scientists was assessed using the meta-analytical approach based on data from quasi-experimental studies conducted in other countries. The competition featured 149 CoS’s and 41 DoS’s, out of which 24 (16%) and 22 (54%) applicants, respectively, obtained funding. No difference in the number of total articles and citations at baseline, as well as in 2008–2012, for awarded and rejected applicants was found. The combination of data from the Russian study and other quasi-experimental studies (6 studies, 10 competitions) revealed a small treatment effect – an increase in the total number of publications over a 4–5-year period after the competition by 1.23 (95% CI 0.48–1.97). However, the relationship between the number of total publications published by applicants before and after the competition revealed that this treatment effect is an effect of the “maturation” of scientists with a high baseline publication activity – not of grant funding.