Nav: Home

Study shows rapid growth in neuroscience research

April 20, 2017

A study of the impact and research topics of neuroscience papers from 2006-2015 has shown that the number of papers and highly-productive core neuroscience journals has grown, while psychology and behavioral sciences have become more popular research areas. 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.

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.
-end-


Frontiers

Related Neuroscience Articles:

The evolution of neuroscience as a research
When the first issue of the JDR was published, the field of neuroscience did not exist but over subsequent decades neuroscience has emerged as a scientific field that has particular relevance to dentistry.
Diabetes-Alzheimer's link explored at Neuroscience 2019
Surprising links exist between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and researchers are beginning to unpack the pathology that connects the two.
Organoid research revealed at Neuroscience 2019
Mini-brains, also called organoids, may offer breakthroughs in clinical research by allowing scientists to study human brain cells without a human subject.
The neuroscience of autism: New clues for how condition begins
UNC School of Medicine scientists found that a gene mutation linked to autism normally works to organize the scaffolding of brain cells called radial progenitors necessary for the orderly formation of the brain.
Harnessing reliability for neuroscience research
Neuroscientists are amassing the large-scale datasets needed to study individual differences and identify biomarkers.
Blue Brain solves a century-old neuroscience problem
In a front-cover paper published in Cerebral Cortex, EPFL's Blue Brain Project, a Swiss Brain Research Initiative, explains how the shapes of neurons can be classified using mathematical methods from the field of algebraic topology.
Characterizing pig hippocampus could improve translational neuroscience
Researchers have taken further steps toward developing a superior animal model of neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, according to a study of miniature pigs published in eNeuro.
The neuroscience of human vocal pitch
Among primates, humans are uniquely able to consciously control the pitch of their voices, making it possible to hit high notes in singing or stress a word in a sentence to convey meaning.
Study tackles neuroscience claims to have disproved 'free will'
For several decades, some researchers have argued that neuroscience studies prove human actions are driven by external stimuli -- that the brain is reactive and free will is an illusion.
New approaches in neuroscience show it's not all in your head
Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives.
More Neuroscience News and Neuroscience Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab