BRICS countries and scientific excellence: A bibliometric analysis of most frequently-cited papers

Lutz Bornmann, Caroline Wagner, Loet Leydesdorff

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China, and South Africa) are noted for their increasing participation in science and technology. The governments of these countries have been boosting their investments in research and development to become part of the group of nations doing research at a world-class level. This study investigates the development of the BRICS countries in the domain of top-cited papers (top 10% and 1% most frequently cited papers) between 1990 and 2010. To assess the extent to which these countries have become important players on the top level, we compare the BRICS countries with the top-performing countries worldwide. As the analyses of the (annual) growth rates show, with the exception of Russia, the BRICS countries have increased their output in terms of most frequently-cited papers at a higher rate than the top-cited countries worldwide. In a further step of analysis for this study, we generate co-authorship networks among authors of highly cited papers for four time points to view changes in BRICS participation (1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010). Here, the results show that all BRICS countries succeeded in becoming part of this network, whereby the Chinese collaboration activities focus on the USA.

Knowledge Graph

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