The Landscape of Neuroscience 2006 – 2015

By Neuroskeptic | April 11, 2017 7:08 am

How has neuroscience changed over the past decade? In a new paper, Hong Kong researchers Andy Wai Kan Yeung and colleagues take a look at brain science using the tools of citation analysis.

Yeung et al. extracted data from 2006-2015 from Web of Science and Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which track publications and citations. All journals that the JCR classifies in the “Neurosciences” category were included.

The first change Yeung et al. noticed was that the number of published neuroscience papers has been growing steadily, although keep in mind that the increasing volume of papers is a phenomenon not limited to neuroscience.


Looking at which kinds of papers received the most citations, Yeung et al. noticed a shift towards the more psychological and behavioural side of brain science. The Web of Science “Psychology” category went from #6 in terms of citations in 2006 up to #1 in 2015, while “Behavioral sciences” went from #3 to #2. The more biological areas of neuroscience, such as “Physiology” and “Biochemistry, molecular biology”, declined in terms of citations. A sign of the times?

yeung_2A breakdown of papers by the national affiliations of the authors reveals the growth of Chinese neuroscience over the 2006 to 2015 period. While just 3% of papers had at least one author based in China in 2006, by 2015 this had risen to over 11%. China has overtaken Germany, the UK, Japan, and other countries such that China is now #2 on the world neuroscience authorship list.

yeung_3Finally, Yeung et al. tracked the impact factor (average citations per paper) of ten “core” neuroscience journals over time. This reveals little change from 2006 to 2015 although the venerable Journal of Neuroscience (established 1981) has lost some ground to Neuroimage (founded 1992).

yeung_4Overall, this is an interesting little paper. The results don’t contain any big surprises, but it’s nice to be able to see where neuroscience is going.

ResearchBlogging.orgYeung AW, Goto TK, & Leung WK (2017). The Changing Landscape of Neuroscience Research, 2006-2015: A Bibliometric Study. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11 PMID: 28377687

CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, science, select, Top Posts
  • Uncle Al

    Neuroscience seeks to dictate the totality of life on this planet – all pathologies resolved, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredoms amused. It is a false narrative promising what will never arrive beyond poxy data.

    Economics has punctilious daily Big Data dating from the 18th century. Macroeconomics is a disaster. No economist ever became wealthy other than by talking about it – including Nobel Laureates Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, 24 February 1994, Long-Term Capital Management. $1.01 billion capitalization . In 1998, a Federal bailout of $3.625 billion saved the world from imploding against $4.6 billion total losses from exquisite mathematical rigor. Neuroscience is pat-a-cake word games.

    • smut clyde

      I have no useful comment to make on the post but I am contractually obliged to applaud any references to Bill the Cat.

      • Uncle Al

        Powerful stuff! Add Arthur Jensen’s monologue in the movie Network (1976). Not just words, perceptions.

    • jhewitt123

      In their landmark paper, Conneconomics: The Economics of Large-Scale Neural Connectomics
      Marbleston and Musk calculate that a palmitic acid fuel cell rendered from human myelin in a three step conversion process could forestall the rare-earths supply crises until SpaceX can find a pure lithium asteroid with a solid neodynium core

  • Andy WK Yeung

    Dear Neuroskeptic,

    I have been reading your posts for 4 years and it is definitely my honor to be mentioned in your blog! Thank you so much for introducing this piece of work to others. :)

    Best regards,

    • Neuroskeptic

      Thanks very much for the comment and thanks for an interesting paper!

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  • jvkohl

    A SFN 2012 in New Orleans, I was assured that every aspect of biophysically constrained RNA-mediated cell type differentiation occurred downstream from energy-dependent epigenetic effects on the microRNA/messenger RNA balance and supercoiled DNA. More than 59,000 indexed works on PubMed attest to that fact via mention of “microRNA.”

    This one showed up for the first time today in my search: Dietary MicroRNA Database (DMD): An Archive Database and Analytic Tool for Food-Borne microRNAs It suggests that food energy sustains all life, and other articles attest to the fact that virus-driven energy theft links the degradation of messenger RNA from mutations to all pathology.

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Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.


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