Two-dimensional mapping of scientific production of nations in the fields of physics and astronomy


  • Seyyed Mehdi Hosseini Jenab Centre for Space Research, Faculty of Natural Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa



national-level analysis, quality, quantity, ranking, scientometrics


The quantity and quality of scientific production in the fields of physics and astronomy over a period of 16 years (1996–2012) was studied. The level of analysis was national, with the scientific output of 108 countries being analysed. The measurement unit was the number of papers published in peer-reviewed journals, as listed on the Scopus database. Modified versions of the number of publications (Pm) and citations (Cm) were employed as indicators of quantity and quality, respectively. A two-dimensional method, the Pm-Cm diagram, was adopted to provide a coherent and simultaneous approach to study the positions, rankings, and temporal evolution of countries in the global context. A static approach to studying the Pm-Cm diagram resulted in countries being grouped into five main categories based on average positions. A dynamic approach to analysing the Pm-Cm diagram also resulted in five groups (i.e. when considering the temporal evolution patterns of the countries during the studied years). The rank and temporal-evolution group associated with each country are listed in two tables in this paper. These tables, together with the Pm-Cm diagrams (showing different scales) present a general view of the scientific activity in the field of physics and astronomy for each country. This methodology allows each country’s output to be compared with that of other countries or the world average.


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How to Cite

Jenab, S. M. H. (2016). Two-dimensional mapping of scientific production of nations in the fields of physics and astronomy. South African Journal of Science, 112(5/6), 8.