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Exploring the common denominator between microplastics and microbiology: a scientometric approach


At the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (the home institute of this paper), scientists have been exploring the common denominator between microplastics and microbiology for almost a decade. Given this fact, there is now a palpable feeling for the need to analyse the scientometric aspects of publications in this topic aiming to comprehend the impact of microplastic-microbiology studies within the scientific literature as a whole. Scientometrics is a research field focused on understanding of the metrics of science. From a researcher’s perspective, it is a powerful tool to increase, for example, the ability to find the best journal for a specific paper, and consequently have a better chance to have this paper cited, which is crucial considering the competitiveness of the modern scientific landscape. However, scientists working in specific research fields, from natural sciences to engineering; mathematics to medicine, are typically unaware of the knowledge that can be gleaned from bibliometrics or scientometrics when outlining their publications strategies. This paper aims to improve this knowledge base for researchers working in microplastic and microbiological research. A total of 47 publications under analysis span from 2011 to 2018, and have been published in 23 journals, most of them interdisciplinary journals that are available for a widespread audience from both complementary and diverse subject areas. Despite a short citation window, publications received > 390 citations with a clear exponential pattern, showing a promising future for microplastic-microbiological research. Whether insofar, a researcher has been focused on either solely microplastics or microbiology, as these fields continue to collide as microplastic-microbiology interaction research continues to increase, this paper might illuminate the next steps for researchers preparing future publications.

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This research was funded by BmBF project PLASTRAT, grant number 02WPL1446 J.

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Correspondence to Matthias Labrenz.

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Ivar do Sul, J.A., Tagg, A.S. & Labrenz, M. Exploring the common denominator between microplastics and microbiology: a scientometric approach. Scientometrics 117, 2145–2157 (2018).

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