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Strength in small: the University of Malta’s scientific output since accession

G. Steven McMillan (Deaprtment of Business, Penn State Abington, Abington, Pennsylvania, USA)
Bastien St-Louis Lalonde (Science Metrix, Montreal, Canada)
Frank H. Bezzina (Department of Management, University of Malta, Msida, Malta)
Debra L. Casey (Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 5 September 2016




The Triple Helix model of academia, government and industry posits that the university can play an important role, even an entrepreneurial one, in innovation in increasingly knowledge-based societies (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000). No longer the “ivory tower” universities are now moving toward an entrepreneurial paradigm. The purpose of this research effort is to examine how such a migration has been accomplished in Malta with a particular focus on the changing activities of its University.


This paper uses advanced bibliometric techniques to examine the scientific output of the University of Malta. Data were downloaded from Thomson Reuters Web of Science. These data were then processed using the software packages Bibexcel and VOSviewer to produce detailed maps of the scientific activity.


The results were that the University has greatly expanded its scientific footprint since its 2004 accession to the European Union (EU). International collaborations and highly cited papers have gone up significantly.

Research limitations/implications

Only one country was examined in this effort, and further study should compare to Malta to other small EU countries. The findings suggest that while some might consider Malta’s progress modest in absolute terms, it has made significant strides from its prior-to-accession base.

Practical implications

The findings have been presented to the Malta Council for Science and Technology as evidence of the outcomes of their efforts.


Because Malta is the smallest member-state in the EU, little research has been done on its science base. However, the authors believe their findings could inform research efforts on other EU, and even non-EU, countries.



McMillan, G.S., St-Louis Lalonde, B., Bezzina, F.H. and Casey, D.L. (2016), "Strength in small: the University of Malta’s scientific output since accession", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 269-287.



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