Top research fronts in the social sciences

Data provided by Thomson Reuters from its Essential Science Indicators, 2003-2008

April 30, 2009

 Research front Papers CitationsImpactMean year
1 European early modern humans and radiocarbon dating48 1,84238.382005.9
2 The H-Index and other citation performance measures46 1,1 .632006.4
3 Relational and evolutionary economic geography 41 2,232 54.442004.4
4 International corporate governance and market value34 1,699 49.972004.9
5 Ethnicity, natural resources and violent civil conflict32 1,561 48.782005.2
6 Personality (Axis-II) disorders and the development of psychopathy30 1,671 55.702005.7
7 World, national mental-health surveys and the prevalence of disease22 3,257 148.052004.7
8 Acute psychosocial work stress: effort-reward imbalance model 22 1,710 77.732004.7
9 IT acceptance and consumer trust17 1,352 79.532004.3
10Depression and mental-health conditions affecting US employers 8 1,518 189.752003.8
A research front is a group of highly cited papers, referred to as core papers, in a specific area of research defined by co-citation cluster analysis. This analysis determines the number of times pairs of highly cited

papers have been co-cited. Clusters are formed by selecting all papers that can be linked together by a specified co-citation threshold. This methodology reveals “organic” structures by relying on the connections made by researchers themselves, not on word analysis or field-classification schemes undertaken by literature analysts. The clusters are named using a semi-automatic process based on frequently occurring words and phrases. Statistical characteristics of each cluster are also determined, including the number of core papers,

the sum of their citation frequencies, the average citations per paper (impact) and the mean year of the core papers in the front. The number of highly cited papers gives an indication of the size of the foundation literature. The sum of citation frequencies reflects the size of the research front. The citations-per-paper score shows the degree of concentration. Finally, the mean year of papers indicates the currency, or “hotness”, of the cluster. The table above provides the top ten research fronts in the social sciences, as defined by the number of core papers (eight or more) and their citation counts (1,000 or more).

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