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Elsevier Presents Report on Global Research Landscape of Brain Research

While 70% of all brain and neuroscience research is done by US and the EU, China is the fastest growing and biggest contributor to the field

Washington, D.C. – WEBWIRE

With nearly one in four people worldwide estimated to suffer from brain or neurological disorders1,Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today released a ground-breaking, comprehensive report on the current state of global brain research: Brain Science: Mapping the Landscape of Brain and Neuroscience Research.

The study was conducted by Elsevier, with input from the European Commission, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), Human Brain Project (HBP), Kavli Foundation, and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI). The aim of the study is to provide benchmark data of the current level of brain research on a global scale and with this data offer insights into future investigative directions and funding priorities.

The study was based on nearly 2 million brain and neuroscience research articles in Scopus published between 2009 and 2013, and incorporates funded grant abstracts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the European Commission 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) spanning the same five years.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Research output: 1.79 million articles fall within the area of brain and neuroscience research, representing approximately 16% of the world’s output in this period. Researchers from the European countries and the US together published more than 70% of the research in 2013, with the top five contributors in terms of publication volume being the US, UK, China, Germany, and Japan. China showed both the largest growth in research output and world article share at 11.6% and 7.5%, respectively.
  • Research impact: In 2013, the global citation impact in the field was 1.14 measured by the field-weighted citation impact (FWCI). This means that they were cited 14% more than the world average across all subject areas.
  • Collaboration: The citation impact (FWCI) of the US’s internationally co-authored articles was 56% more impactful than those published by single institution co-authored articles.
  • Interdisciplinary mobility: Almost 60% brain and neuroscience researchers have published across multiple disciplines such as: anatomy, cognitive science, computer science, psychology and ethics, with over 16% publishing in other disciplines for more than two years.
  • Emerging trends: Differences between ongoing popular topics ’top concepts’ and rapid, trending topics ’burst concepts’ revealed that the ’burst concepts’ were found to be related to methods, while the ’top concepts’ related to brain diseases and drug development.
  • Funding analysis: For US NIH-funded research focus areas included substance abuse, and more specifically the impact of methamphetamine, nicotine, and cannabis. In contrast, antipsychotic drugs that are mainly used to treat schizophrenia were high-focus areas in European Commission-funded research.

The results are based on traditional bibliometric analyses and measures of collaboration and mobility. Additionally, the report provides insights from interviews with thought leaders in brain research, including Monica Di Luca, FENS; Susumu Tonegawa, BSI; and, Richard Frackowiak, HBP.

“These are exciting times for the field of neuroscience,” said Dr. Nick Fowler, Managing Director Research Management at Elsevier. “With new technologies for understanding functional brain circuitry, major national funding opportunities worldwide, and increased interdisciplinary influences neuroscience seems poised for tackling great challenge: understanding the function and dysfunction of the human brain. With this report we are pleased to be able to provide insights into the research landscape of this important field.”

Members of Elsevier’s Global Academic Relations and the Analytical Services team will be presenting the report and its key findings at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 Conference in Washington, DC on November 15. They will be joined by a panel of distinguished brain research experts from different sectors in the US, EU, and Japan to share their thoughts about the current state of and new directions for global brain research.

Event:  Presentation of Elsevier’s International Brain Research Report at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

Time: 6:30-8:30 PM

Location: Marriott Marquis (Georgetown Room), 901 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC, US 

1  McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT 2014: Brain Disorders by Numbers. Available from: [4 November, 2014] 


About Elsevier’s Analytical Services
Analytical Services, part of the Elsevier Research Intelligence portfolio of product and services, provides accurate, unbiased analysis on research performance by combining high quality data sources with technical and research metrics expertise accrued over Elsevier’s 130 years in academic publishing. The analytics team is experienced in serving policy makers, funders, and academic and corporate research institutions around the world. Offerings range from simple, targeted reports to comprehensive multidimensional studies, as well as data delivery and web integration services to meet institutions’ specific research insight needs.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

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