Inaugural Presentation of the
Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award,
presented by Research!America, to Dr. David Meltzer
July 10, 2002
I have been asked to say something about the origins of the Research!America economic impact award.My interest in the scholarly impact of research predates the launch of the Science Citation Index.®Many people believe the SCI was createdto study research impact for tenure evaluation or to forecast Nobel Prizes.However, the SCI® was invented primarily to improve traditional information retrieval methods.It was inspired by H. G. Wells’ book World Brain, an encyclopedic database of all human knowledge.Once it was established, the inherent hyperlinked structure of the SCI led inevitably to its use for measuring the relative impacts of researchers, journals, institutions, and countries using publication and citation outputs as indicators.In the seventies, quite fortuitously,I encountered the work of Julius Comroe and Robert Dripps who worked right here in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania.They traced the impact of basic research on the practice of medicine.Their now classic 1976 article in Science on the scientific basis for biomedical science is stillworth your attention.The following year Comroe published his “Retrospectroscope – Insights into Medical Discovery,” a remarkable catalog of the complex serendipitous world of basic research and its unpredictable outcomes.In 1979, while preparing a Current Contents essay which asked “How Can We Prove the Value of Basic Research?,” I encountered Hugh H. Fudenbergand his pioneering studies in the early seventies on the dollar benefits of research.Subsequently, I encountered the work of Professor Ed Mansfield also at Penn.His pioneering work on the role of R&D in economic growth -- demonstrated the high rate of return to society on its investment in basic research.The influence of Fudenberg, Mansfield, and Comroe on my thinking culminated in a major review that I published in Current Contents in 1981 on “The Economic Impact of Research and Development.”
I wish these pioneers could have been here to observe the launch of this Award.Hopefully, the Research!America Award will stimulate further studies that remind policy makers in Congress and elsewhere of the social andeconomic impacts ofbasic scientific, biomedical, and health research.
In closing, let me acknowledge mary Woolley and the Board of Research!America for their support and the Award Committee for selecting an outstanding recipient, Dr. David Meltzer.
 Garfield E., “Towards the World Brain,” Current Contents (October 6, 1964).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume 1, pg. 8.Philadelphia:ISI Press (1977).
 Comroe J. H. and Dripps R.D., “Scientific Basis for Support of Biomedical Science,”
Science 192(4235):105-11 (1976)
 Comroe J. H., Retroscope – Insights into Medical Discovery.Menlo Park, CA:Von Gehr Press, 182 pgs (1977).
Garfield E.,:How Can We Prove the Value of Basic Research?”Current Contents No. 40,pgs. 5-9 (1979).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume 4, pgs. 285-289 (1981).
 Fudenberg H.H.,“Dollar Benefitsof Biomedical-Research - Cost-Analysis,”Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 79(3): 353+ (1972).
 Mansfield E., “Contribution of R and D to Economic Growth in United States,”Science 175(4021):477+ (1972)
 Garfield E., “Garfield, E.“The Economic Impact of Research and Development,”Current Contents No. 51, pgs. 5-15 (1981).Reprinted in Essays of an Information Scientist, Volume 5, pages 337-447.Philadelphia:ISI Press (1983).