Human Optimization Research: International Activity

The present scientometric study was commissioned by the Chief Scientist Network of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). It provides an overview of international research activity and collaboration networks in the field of human optimization. This is the second study in a series on human optimization, where the first was focused on the Canadian landscape. To identify major players, their collaboration networks and key research topics in the international landscape, 7,656 references, dated 2005-2015, to relevant unclassified publications were retrieved and analyzed using text mining software and a variety of visualization tools. 114 research topics were categorized into five (non-mutually exclusive) metagroups including Ethics, Physiological issues,
Computational/Cognitive issues, Automation/Robotics and Means of Enhancement. Internationally, research is most focused on Computational/Cognitive issues.
Visualizations of the 114 research topics showed great interconnection between them, displaying three main clusters; which speaks to the fact that research in this domain is quite interdisciplinary. Examining the research momentum of the topics reveals that 33 of the topics can be considered to be emerging (i.e. growing at a notable rate despite a relatively low publication count). While these emerging topics (e.g. transcranial stimulation or neurophysiology), in and of themselves, are not necessarily emerging topics in the broader picture of scientific research, it may be that within the field of human optimization, these topics represent an emerging angle of research. An analysis of the geographic distribution of the publications revealed that the US dominates the field in terms of total number of publications. However, Switzerland has both the greatest rate of collaboration (82%) as well as the highest average annual growth rate for 2012-2015 (70%). Most of the top countries are collaborating with each other. International collaboration networks are rather sparse amongst the top collaborating countries in that the top affiliations may have many different international colleagues but with very few repeated co-publications. Notable exceptions are described in the report. Recommendations for further study include, among others, a formal comparison with the Canadian landscape, additional analysis of the Means of enhancement metagroup, and a deeper exploration of the top countries’ collaboration networks.


OR NCR paper

Author: Erica Wiseman
Organization: National Research Council of Canada
Source: NRC-CNRC Knowledge Management
Year: 2016

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