Research landscape of the BRICS countries: current trends in research output, thematic structures of publications, and the relative influence of partners
his article provides the comprehensive analysis of research landscape in BRICS countries in different aspects: level of their publication activity and contribution to the global process of knowledge generation; thematic structure of publications of BRICS countries, their scientific specialization; quality of articles measured by citation indicators; similarity of thematic structures of publications; international research collaboration profiles; and finally closeness and relative influence of each country in intra-BRICS collaborating pairs.
Special sections of the article are devoted to review of the literature, which discusses the main articles on various aspects of BRICS countries' publication activity and their international research collaboration and to description the database and set of various bibliometric indicators, used in our analysis. We use Scopus database and the timespan of our research covers 2001 – 2015 years that allows us to identify key points in development of research landscapes of BRICS countries. The empirical part of the article is structured as follows. First, we provide the overview of publication activity and thematic structure of BRICS countries. Second, we measure the closeness of thematic structure of publications vs. each other and vs. general research agenda in the world using different indices of structural difference. Third part is the analysis of research collaboration with clear visualization of its thematic structure, identification of potential areas of collaboration and detection the influential countries in intra-BRICS collaborating pairs. We use wide range of bibliometric indicators: citation indicators; indices of structural difference; indicators of scientific collaboration. We apply different approaches to visualise data in form of different illustrative graphs including colored tables to do our research easy-to-read-and understand.
The results of the study may be of interest to decision makers in determining the conscientious research story of the BRICS countries and priorities setting for multilateral scientific and technological cooperation, as well as for researchers dealing with relevant problems.