Global neuroscience and mental health research: a bibliometrics case study


This case study of the impact of publications in the area of Neurosciences and Mental Health was completed as part of an institutional analysis of health research activity at the University of Toronto. Our data show that selecting top researchers by total publication output favoured clinical research over all other research disciplines active in the subjects. The use of citation rate based measures broadened the research disciplines in the top group, to include researchers in Public Health (highest impact in the analysis), Commerce and Basic Sciences. In addition, focusing on impact rather than output increased the participation of women in the top group. The number of female scientists increased from 20 to 31 % in the University of Toronto cohort when citations to publications were compared. Social network analysis showed that the top 100 researchers in both cohorts were highly collaborative, with several researchers forming bridges between individual clusters. There were two areas of research, neurodegeneration/movement disorders and cerebrovascular disease, represented by strong clusters in each analysis. The University of Toronto analysis identified two areas neuro-oncology/neuro-development and mental health/schizophrenia that were not represented in the global researcher networks. Information about the areas and relative strength of researcher collaborative networks will inform future strategic planning.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Lilia Smale and Aurora Mendelsohn in the Evaluation Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, for their invaluable assistance with the SNA visualizations. This study was funded by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

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Correspondence to Alison M. J. Buchan.

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Buchan, A.M.J., Jurczyk, E., Isserlin, R. et al. Global neuroscience and mental health research: a bibliometrics case study. Scientometrics 109, 515–531 (2016).

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  • Bibliometrics
  • Neurosciences
  • Mental health
  • Social network analysis
  • Research evaluation
  • Case study