Nature of Changes | 2017
The BRIMR rankings are derived each year from data compiled and released by the National Institutes of Health shortly after the federal fiscal year closes. The NIH posts this data on its Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) website in the form of a master Excel spreadsheet file called “Worldwide”, accessible under the “Awards by Location” tab.
A large number of changes in the NIH awards file were made for consistency so that the computer program would parse the data in a meaningful way. For example, when the same organization was given two names they were combined into a single entity. For example, the ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE was renamed to the ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, INC so that all of the entries are identical. Additionally, the term SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY was changed to SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE. Moreover, the term OVERALL MEDICAL (column I) was changed to SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE.
Several years ago 40% of all the funds awarded to a single medical school (UCLA) were credited to OVERALL MEDICAL. Today OVERALL MEDICAL involves multiple SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE, but not at the 40% rate.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota has been accepting medical students since 1972, but it is not listed as a Medical School. We’ve included it as one of the SCHOOLS OF MEDICINE. However, none of its Departments are ranked because their awards were attributed to NONE in the NIH DEPT COMBINING NAME (column H).
Awards made to the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center Support were attributed to DERMATOLOGY, while the PI is in the Department of MEDICINE; the relevant tables were changed to reflect the current situation.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and its clinical awards were divided between Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center; these have been combined under the heading of Vanderbilt University using the information that they provided. Moreover, numerous awards to Albert Einstein College of Medicine were not attributed to any Department nor were they attributed to Schools of Medicine; this has been corrected using the information that they provided. The names of cities were modified for consistency. For example, Boston was changed to BOSTON and San Diego was changed to SAN DIEGO, etc., for the data on awards to cities.
BRIMR received corrections from about 30 other organizations. The number of modifications ranged from 1 to 25 (Median = 6). Most of these corrections had grants credited to an incorrect Department or to no Department at all; others had grants credited to the incorrect School within an Organization.
The NIH awarded 54,692 grants and contracts in 2017 to about 37,000 Principal Investigators. I corrected several errors in addition to those mentioned above, but there are undoubtedly more that I did not see because I read only a small fraction of the data. For example, one Principal Investigator’s name was given as last name, first name and no middle initials in one place and last name, first name and two middle initials in another. Moreover, the first and last names of one Investigator were given correctly in five entries, but they were transposed in the sixth. Moreover, there are perhaps dozens of Principal Investigators with the same first and last names. For example, there are three with the name ZHANG, BIN. The awards to all Principal Investigators Worldwide will be in error when awards to different investigators with the same name are added (by the computer) and listed as one. It will also be in error when the same Investigator’s name is given differently (e.g., one with and one without a middle initial). The name will be given twice along with the award credited with each version of the name.
If you find what you think is a discrepancy or error, download and check the Worldwide file. You will most likely see the same discrepancy or error here. You can contact the NIH to have the error rectified.
~ Robert Roskoski Jr.
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