Philippines’ most productive research institutes and researchers in 2010

Several years ago, I wondered if someone in the Philippines was also working on the same research topic as I was. Incidentally, I had access to ISI’s Web of Knowledge database at my workplace. So I tried to search for papers on my topic which had been published by researchers from the Philippines.

To my surprise, I didn’t find even a single one. So I got intrigued and decided to broaden my search to include all papers published from the Philippines. I was just curious to know how productive the country was in terms of scientific publications. At first, I was thrilled to find out that there was an increasing number of papers coming from the Philippines from year to year. Unfortunately the thrill didn’t last long. When I compared the trend to other ASEAN countries, I found out that the Philippines was actually ahead of other countries in the early years but later, it was surpassed and started to lag behind. Nowadays, even Vietnam is producing more papers than the Philippines does.

In this post, I do not intend to compare the Philippines to its ASEAN neighbors. I think most of us already know where the country stands. Instead, I am more interested in finding out what subject areas the country is mostly contributing to the pool of scientific knowledge, which institution contributes the most, and who are the most productive researchers in the country in terms of publications. For this, I will be using the number of papers published in peer-reviewed journals as the only measure. Not just any peer-reviewed journals, but only journals indexed in ISI’s Web of Knowledge database, which can be accessed in this URL: http://www.isiknowledge.com/.  It may be restrictive but it is a good measure. Due to limited time and resources, I only examined papers published last year (2010).

Searching the database using the following search terms (address=”philippines”, year published=”2010”, and database=”sci-expanded”) produced 937 records. The records included several document types such as article, review, proceedings, and letters, among others. Refining further the search results to include only documents of type article, review, and letter reduces the number of papers to 700. From the 700 articles, the top subject areas are: agronomy (86 papers), plant science (57), environmental science (48), biology (37), and lastly ecology (31). The remaining articles are split into several other subject areas.

The University of the Philippines topped the institution producing the most number of papers, with 302 articles out of 700. It is followed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with 109 papers. Then the University of Sto. Thomas came third with 34 papers. De La Salle University (DLSU) came 4th with 26 papers, followed by the National Museum of the Philippines with 20 papers. I was actually surprised to find the National Museum to be on the top 5 with 20 papers.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and St. Luke’s Hospital both have 18 papers, the University of San Carlos and the World Health Organization have 15, Mapua Institute of Technology and Ateneo de Manila University have 13, Philippine General Hospital has 10, and Mindanao State University (MSU) has 9, completing the top 10 institutions.

Other institutions and state universities which have produced more than 4 papers include: Philippine Rice Research Institute (8), DOH-Rizal Cancer Registry, Rizal Medical Center (8), Silliman University (6),Central Luzon State University-CLSU (6), Visayas State University-VSU (5), Bicol University (4), and Mariano Marcos State University (4).

From the above, it is easy to see how disproportionate the distribution of research output in the country is. It is not surprising to have the University of the Philippines way on top, as it should, being the country’s premier university, and followed by the International Rice Research Institute, which is an international institution. Still, it is encouraging to know that several other state universities located outside the National Capital Region (NCR) like MSU, CLSU, VSU, and others are producing papers as well. The number may be small, but it is a start nonetheless. If only researchers from these universities can be provided with more support and incentives, I think these institutions can be more productive than they are now.

It is also interesting to look at the researchers who had published the most number of papers, either as the main author or co-author, in 2010. At the top place with 14 publications is Arvin C. Diesmos from the National Museum of the Philippines’ Division of Zoology. He is followed by Allan N. Soriano from the School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Mapua Institute of Technology with 12 papers. With 11 papers is Raymond R Tan from DLSU’s Chemical Engineering Department.

Nobuya Kobayashi from IRRI and Maria Rica Mirasol-Lumague from DOH-Rizal Cancer Registry, Rizal Medical Center have 8 papers each. Completing the top 5 are 3 researchers with 7 publications. These include Bhagirath S Chauhan and David E Johnson from the IRRI’s Crop and Environmental Sciences Division and Filipinas F. Natividad from St. Luke’s Hospital’s Research and Biotechnology Division. Our congratulations to them for a very productive year.

Finally, I would like to note that this list is not exhaustive. The numbers presented above are based only on the data from the ISI web of knowledge website’s search results. The search parameters listed do not also represent the entirety of the individual’s or institution’s research output. It is also possible that some numbers may change as the site continues to update its database. But the above information do give us a perspective of the current state of research the country is in.