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A bibliometric study of earthquake research: 1900–2010


We evaluated earthquake research performance based on a bibliometric analysis of 84,051 documents published in journals and other outlets contained in the Scientific Citation Index (SCI) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) bibliographic databases for the period of 1900–2010. We summarized significant publication indicators in earthquake research, evaluated national and institutional research performance, and presented earthquake research development from a supplementary perspective. Research output descriptors suggested a solid development in earthquake research, in terms of increasing scientific production and research collaboration. We identified leading authors, institutions, and nations in earthquake research, and there was an uneven distribution of publications at authorial, institutional, and national levels. The most commonly used keywords appeared in the articles were evolution, California, deformation, model, inversion, seismicity, tectonics, crustal structure, fault, zone, lithosphere, and attenuation.

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    Records in the SCI/SSCI databases were categorized as one of the thirty-two (32) ISI document types. A list of all document types can be found on ISI websites.


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The authors are thankful to Prof. Yuh-Shan Ho (Peking University, China) for his pioneering work in the bibliometric methods that were employed in this study. The authors would like to thank funding support from National High-tech R&D Program of China (2009AA122001; 2011AA120304). Comments from the anonymous referees and the editor are also gratefully appreciated. All errors remain the authors’ own.

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Correspondence to Yaolin Liu.

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Liu, X., Zhan, F.B., Hong, S. et al. A bibliometric study of earthquake research: 1900–2010. Scientometrics 92, 747–765 (2012).

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  • Bibliometrics
  • Evaluation
  • Earthquake
  • Research performance