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England Rules the (Brain) Waves

Neuroskeptic iconNeuroskepticBy NeuroskepticNovember 16, 2010 9:20 AM


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Yes, England has finally won something. After a poor showing in the 2010 World Cup, the Eurovision Song Contest, and the global economic crisis, we're officially #1 in neuroscience. Which clearly is the most important measure of a nation's success.

According to data collated by and released recently, each English neuroscience paper from the past 10 years has been cited, on average, 24.53 times, making us the most cited country in the world relative to the total number of papers published (source here). We're second only to the USA in terms of overall citations.


(In this table, "Rank" refers to total number of citations).

Why is this? I suspect it owes a lot to the fact that England has produced many of the technical papers which everyone refers to (although few people have ever read). Take the paper Dynamic Causal Modelling by Karl Friston et al from London. It's been cited 649 times since 2003, because it's the standard reference for the increasingly popular fMRI technique of the same name.

Or take Ashburner and Friston's Voxel-Based Morphometry—The Methods, cited over 2000 times in the past 10 years, which introduced a method for measuring the size of different brain regions. Or take...most of Karl Friston's papers, actually. He's the single biggest contributor to the way in which modern neuroimaging is done.

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