Research productivity: Philippines’ most productive 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.

Initial search terms:
year published=2010
records: 937

document type = article (648), review (41), letter (11)
records: 700

Top 5 subject areas
1. Agronomy (86)
2. Plant science (57)
3. Environmental science (48)
4. Biology (37)
5. Ecology (31)
Top 5 authors
1. Diesmos, Arvin C (14)
National Museum Philippines

2. Soriano, Allan N (12)
Mapua Institute of Technology

3. Tan, Raymond R (11)
De La Salle University

4. Kobayashi, Nobuya (8)
International Rice Research Institute

4. Mirasol-Lumague, Maria Rica (8)
Department of Health-Rizal Cancer Registry

5. Chauhan, Bhagirath S (7)
International Rice Research Institute

5. Johnson, David E (7)
International Rice Research Institute

5. Natividad, Filipinas F (7)
St. Luke’s Hospital

Top 10 institutions

1st:University of the Philippines (302)

2nd:International Rice Research Institute (109)

3rd: University of Santo Thomas (34)

4th: De La Salle University (26)

5th: National Museum of the Philippines (20)

1. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (18)
2. St Luke’s Hospital (18)

1. University of San Carlos (15)
2. World Health Oragnization (15)

1. Mapua Institute of Technology (13)
2. Ateneo Manila University (13)

9th: Philippine General Hospital (10)

10th: Mindanao State University (9)

Other Institutions
1. Philippine Rice Research Institute (8)
2. DOH-Rizal Cancer Registry, Rizal Medical Center (8)
3. Central Luzon State University (6)
4. Silliman University (6)
5. Visayas State University (5)
6. Bicol University (4)
7. Mariano Marcos State University (4)

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:  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.

What do you think?

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9 Responses

  1. jake says:

    i think it’s good for the country that at least some research activities are coming out and getting published in peer reviewed journals.

    however, comparing institutions by showing raw data is a bit misleading, don’t you think? i mean, measuring productivity based on the raw output is not very objective…wouldn’t #publications/total #researcher give a more useful number?

    but at least we’re publishing papers, and that’s a good thing. now, if only our government will put more money into sci-tech…

    • myguide says:

      hi jake,

      thanks for your comment. that would be great indeed to look at the ratio of publication per researcher of each institute. unfortunately, i don’t have that data (number of researchers per institute), which may not be that easy to obtain.

      but if we look beyond the numbers, i think it is also equally interesting just to know the different institutions in the country that are actively doing research. so it was really a surprise to find out that other state universities outside the capital region were producing papers as well. more power (or funding) to them!

  2. Nath says:

    When we did the country report (2007) for the application of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, we made a ‘rough’ calculation on the ratio of publication per PhD per institution. Unfortunately this is only for Physics institutions/ Physics-related publications.

    ‘Rough’ because 1) we did not discriminate if the publications really belong to that physics institution and 2) the number of PhD in the Philippines is highly volatile.
    Example of (1) would be a Phys Chem paper from the Chemistry department but it will be aggregated with the Physics papers.

    Part of the country report can be read here:

  3. myguide says:

    hi nath, thanks for the additional information.

  4. Pol Yambot says:

    This report is very helpful especially to universities outside Metro Manila. We can see how we in CLSU fare as a state university and this serves as a challenge for us. I hope there will be a yearly report on this. Thanks.

  5. myguide says:

    hi pol, thanks. we will try our best to come up with another report next year.

  6. nice, i am glad to find this post.

    I am just curious how many authors did you find not connected to any institution?

  7. darwin says: intriguing that not one from any agency under DOST is included in the list…I think it tells a lot.