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Study Shows Rapid Growth in Neuroscience Research

Summary: A new study evaluates the growth in neuroscience research between 2006 and 2015.

Source: Frontiers.

A study of neuroscience papers from 2006-2015 has revealed the most productive journals and contributing countries, and the most popular research topics.

China has emerged as a major neuroscience contributor, jumping from 11th place in 2006 to 2nd place in 2015 on the list of the most productive countries for neuroscience research.

Neuroscience seeks to understand how our nervous system functions in health and disease. Studying the brain can involve tackling some fundamental questions such as the nature of consciousness or how we form and retain memories. Neuroscience can range from studying psychology or behavior to investigating how the nervous system functions at a cellular or molecular level.

Neuroscience, and indeed all science, often seeks to answer highly specific questions. However, sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at an entire research field to understand how it is developing, who the major contributors are and what the most important research topics are. Understanding these trends can help people to quickly determine the most important and influential research in a field, which can then inform evidence-based education, policy and investment.

“I was interested in applying bibliometric analytics to my field of research: neuroscience. I wished to see the overall picture and identify the hot research topics in the field,” explains Andy Wai Kan Yeung of the University of Hong Kong, lead author on the study, which was recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The researchers analyzed scientific articles or reviews listed by the Web of Science and published under the Journal Citation Reports “Neuroscience” category between 2006 and 2015. They used manuscript keywords to determine the most popular and cited research topics and recorded the country of origin of the authors.

Finally, the scientists assessed the core journals in the field for every year. “The journals were sorted in descending order from the most productive to the least productive. Core journals are defined as the most productive journals that together publish one third of neuroscience papers in a year,” says Yeung.

The number of neuroscience papers published each year increased linearly over the studied period, showing that the field is active and growing. In particular, psychology and behavioral sciences increased in popularity. The number one high-impact research term was “autism”, while “melatonin”, “microglia” and “neurofibrillary tangle”, which all relate to Alzheimer’s disease, appeared in the top ten in the last three years. The publication share of “geriatrics, gerontology” doubled from 2006 to 2015. “People are paying attention to neuroscience related to the elderly, most likely because of the aging population in developed countries,” says Yeung.

Image shows a statue of a brain.

Neuroscience, and indeed all science, often seeks to answer highly specific questions. However, sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at an entire research field to understand how it is developing, who the major contributors are and what the most important research topics are. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.

The United States was the most prolific producer of neuroscience publications during the ten-year period, with European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany also producing a significant quantity of manuscripts. However, China demonstrated the greatest change, by jumping from 11th to 2nd place in the list of the most productive countries for neuroscience papers over the studied period.

The number of core journals increased from 11 in 2006 to 22 in 2015, and 6 journals were consistently included as core journals throughout the entire study period. A total of 33 core journals were identified, and in the years 2014-2015 these included four Frontiers journals.

About this neuroscience research article

Funding: Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (HKU 766212M).

Source: Melissa Cochrane – Frontiers
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “The Changing Landscape of Neuroscience Research, 2006–2015: A Bibliometric Study” by Andy Wai Kan Yeung, Tazuko K. Goto1,2 and W. Keung Leung in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Published online March 21 2017 doi:10.3389/fnins.2017.00120

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Frontiers “Study Shows Rapid Growth in Neuroscience Research: Brain Views Immoral Acts As If They Are Impossible.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 20 April 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/neuroscience-research-growth-6459/>.
Frontiers (2017, April 20). Study Shows Rapid Growth in Neuroscience Research: Brain Views Immoral Acts As If They Are Impossible. NeuroscienceNew. Retrieved April 20, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/neuroscience-research-growth-6459/
Frontiers “Study Shows Rapid Growth in Neuroscience Research: Brain Views Immoral Acts As If They Are Impossible.” http://neurosciencenews.com/neuroscience-research-growth-6459/ (accessed April 20, 2017).

Abstract

The Changing Landscape of Neuroscience Research, 2006–2015: A Bibliometric Study

Background: It is beneficial to evaluate changes in neuroscience research field regarding research directions and topics over a defined period. Such information enables stakeholders to quickly identify the most influential research and incorporate latest evidence into research-informed education. To our knowledge, no study reported changes in neuroscience literature over the last decade. Therefore, the current study determined research terms with highest citation scores, compared publication shares of research areas and contributing countries in this field from 2006 to 2015 and identified the most productive journals.

Methods: Data were extracted from Web of Science and Journal Citation Reports (JCR). Only articles and reviews published in journals classified under the JCR “Neurosciences” category over the period of interest were included. Title and abstract fields of each included publication were extracted and analyzed via VOSviewer to identify recurring terms with high relative citation scores. Two term maps were produced for publications over the study period to illustrate the extent of co-occurrence, and the impact of terms was evaluated based on their relative citation scores. To further describe the recent research priority or “hot spots,” 10 terms with the highest relative citation scores were identified annually. In addition, by applying Bradford’s law, we identified 10 journals being the most productive journals per annum over the survey period and evaluated their bilbiometric performances.

Results: From 2006 to 2015, there were 47 terms involved in the annual lists of top 10 terms with highest relative citation scores. The most frequently recurring terms were autism (8), meta-analysis (7), functional connectivity (6), default mode network (4) and neuroimaging (4). Neuroscience research related to psychology and behavioral sciences showed an increase in publication share over the survey period, and China has become one of the major contributors to neuroscience research. Ten journals were frequently identified (≥8 years) as core journals within the survey period.

Discussion: The landscape of neuroscience research has changed recently, and this paper provides contemporary overview for researchers and health care workers interested in this field’s research and developments. Brain imaging and brain connectivity terms had high relative citation scores.

“The Changing Landscape of Neuroscience Research, 2006–2015: A Bibliometric Study” by Andy Wai Kan Yeung, Tazuko K. Goto1,2 and W. Keung Leung in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Published online March 21 2017 doi:10.3389/fnins.2017.00120

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