To commemorate World AIDS Day, Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, an open Web resource for science metrics and research performance analysis explored the contents of the more than 12,000 scientific and scholarly journals indexed within Thomson Reuters Web of Science to extract an elite selection of research reports on HIV and AIDS.
This undertaking posed a particular challenge: given the volume of activity in the field—nearly 50,000 papers published over the last two years mention “HIV” or “AIDS”—how does one distinguish the truly consequential research?
The answer is to let scientists themselves show the way. A central tenet of scholarly ethics holds that, in writing up their research and describing their results for publication, scientists must explicitly acknowledge the previous advances upon which they are building—the work that has inspired, informed, or guided their research. They do this by providing detailed footnotes to specific publications. Each instance of such acknowledgement constitutes a “citation” to the previous work. Tabulating these citations, as Thomson Reuters does in its Web of Science, points to research that can be quantitatively assessed as influential and useful in the judgment of the scientific community.
To identify significant, recent work in HIV/AIDS, ThomsonReuters focused on a particular variety of highly cited report: the “hot” paper—published in the last two years and cited at a level notably higher than papers of comparable type and age published in the same journal. In other words, papers that, in terms of their significance and utility in the eyes of scientists, are particularly fast out of the gate.
Here are some of the key findings revealed by the analysis:
Hottest Research Trends: Many of the most highly-cited papers focused on the identification of powerful antibodies able to neutralize the broad range of HIV-1 viruses
Top Funders: The US National Institute of Health (NIH) dominated funding acknowledgements with more mentions than twice the amount of the second leading organization.
Top Institutions: Harvard and Scripps Research Institute tied for top honors.
Hottest Researchers: Dennis R. Burton of Scripps Research Institute and Barton F. Hayes of Duke University School of Medicine tie with each contributing to five of the hottest papers
Visit Thomson Reuters Sciencewatch to learn more about the trends, researchers and institutions leading the way in HIV/AIDS research. http://sciencewatch.com/articles/hivaids-research-whats-hot-right-now