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Comparative Study of Trace Metrics between Bibliometrics and Patentometrics

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To comprehensively evaluate the overall performance of a group or an individual in both bibliometrics and patentometrics.


Trace metrics were applied to the top 30 universities in the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)—computer sciences, the top 30 ESI highly cited papers in the computer sciences field in 2014, as well as the top 30 assignees and the top 30 most cited patents in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) computer hardware and software category.


We found that, by applying trace metrics, the research or marketing impact efficiency, at both group and individual levels, was clearly observed. Furthermore, trace metrics were more sensitive to the different publication-citation distributions than the average citation and h-index were.

Research limitations

Trace metrics considered publications with zero citations as negative contributions. One should clarify how he/she evaluates a zero-citation paper or patent before applying trace metrics.

Practical implications

Decision makers could regularly examine the performance of their university/company by applying trace metrics and adjust their policies accordingly.


Trace metrics could be applied both in bibliometrics and patentometrics and provide a comprehensive view. Moreover, the high sensitivity and unique impact efficiency view provided by trace metrics can facilitate decision makers in examining and adjusting their policies.