Dear Dr Viney,
Thank you for your comment. It raises a number of different issues, which we try to answer below.
First, the paper acknowledges that citations have limitations and that indeed “the vast majority of influential, important, and worthy scientific work will not attract that much attention”. Yet, the analysed papers are unquestionably extremely influential and so are their authors. “Software, standards, methods or setting clinical guidelines” are extremely important tenants of and core to the research enterprise. It is a pity that often they are outside the radar screen of public funding agencies and non-for-profit charities, and thus end up unfunded or (in the case of guidelines) usurped by private, conflicted interests with negative consequences for health and public health at large.
Second, as imperfect as it is to use the first and last author of a paper in the analysis, it is a way of distinguishing scientists who are unquestionably main contributors among a long list of authors.
Third, UKRI Gateway to Research provides excellent information about funded projects, but not non-funded ones, therefore it would not have been useful for the purpose of this paper.
Finally, a comprehensive analysis of the contribution from all UK grant funders was not the scope of this paper. On this topic you may find the following systematic review of interest: https://link.springer.com....
UK funders, and the MRC in particular, have been great supporters of research on research and it is in this field that our study contributes.