Measuring the contributions of Chinese scholars to the research field of systems biology from 2005 to 2013

TitleMeasuring the contributions of Chinese scholars to the research field of systems biology from 2005 to 2013
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsZou, Yawen, and Manfred D. Laubichler
Date Published1
KeywordsChinese scholars, Comparative analysis, GIS analysis, Network analysis, Scientometrics, Systems biology

Systems biology is a new field of biology that has great implications for agriculture, medicine, and sustainability. In this article we explore the contributions of Chinese authors to systems biology through analysis of the metadata of more than 9000 articles on systems biology. Our big-data approach includes scientometric analysis, GIS analysis, co-word network analysis, and comparative analysis. By 2013 China has become second in the number of publications on systems biology. Similar to previous studies on Chinese science, we find an unequal distribution of research power in China, favoring big cities and coastal cities. Overall, 75% of the articles in systems biology were published by scholars from universities, 15% by scholars from the Chinese of Academy of Sciences institutions, and 9% from other institutions. Many Chinese scholars’ research topics are similar to those in the US, Japan, and Germany, but one salient difference is that traditional Chinese medicine is an important topic among Chinese systems biologists. 25% of Chinese systems biologists cooperate with scientists abroad, suggesting that they take advantage of the opening-up policy. From the year 2011–2013, the average impact factor of the journals that Chinese scholars publish in is generally lower than that of their counterparts in the US, but the trend points to a gradual increase in impact.