As part of this thematic issue on the Arts & Humanities, Research Trends thought it would be interesting to look into the geographical distribution of Arts & Humanities research. Although Arts & Humanities scholarly output is published in a variety of media (1), looking at a large enough publication window for papers published in journals should still show a realistic representation of the geographical distribution of the research. In this piece, we present three alternative pictures of the global repartition of Arts & Humanities (2).

 

Absolute numbers: a somewhat unsurprising map

First we map the most straightforward data: absolute number of Arts & Humanities papers (see Figure 1) by author location as defined by institutional address for any collaborative author (whole counts). This yields a somewhat predictable output: with a few exceptions in Asia-Pacific, the most prolific cities tend to be well-known academic and cultural hotspots in the USA and Western Europe, such as London, Paris, and New York. This confirms that in absolute numbers of papers, the Arts & Humanities behave like the Sciences, with research concentrated in institutes linked to large cities (3).

Figure 1: Absolute number of 1996-2010 Arts & Humanities scholarly journal articles by author affiliation city for cities with 100 or more Arts & Humanities articles. Sources: Scopus and GPS visualizer. Size and color of the circles depend on absolute number of Arts & Humanities papers (red >1000, orange =500-999, yellow =300-499, green =200-299, blue =100-199).

 

Relative to overall city output: expected results with a few unforeseen twists

When we look into the Arts & Humanities output relative to overall output for each city, however, we see a slightly more interesting picture (see Figure 2). Again, these were mapped by author location as defined by institutional address for any collaborative author (whole counts). The distribution still appears concentrated in the USA and Western Europe, but reveals more unexpected cities. For instance, the two locations with the highest proportion of their output in the Arts & Humanities are La Mirada on the US West Coast (home of Biola University), with 101 of its 162 scholarly papers belonging to Arts & Humanities, and Lampeter in Wales (where the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has a campus), with 107 of its 255 scholarly papers in the Arts & Humanities.

Figure 2: Proportion of 1996-2010 Arts & Humanities scholarly journal articles relative to overall output by author affiliation city for cities with 100 or more Arts & Humanities articles. Sources: Scopus and GPS visualizer. Size of the circles represents the proportion of Arts & Humanities papers relative to total output; color of the circles depends on absolute number of Arts & Humanities papers (red >1000, orange =500-999, yellow =300-499, green =200-299, blue =100-199).

 

Relative to country Arts & Humanities output: some unanticipated results

Exploring city Arts & Humanities output relative to country Arts & Humanities output reveals a more surprising map (see Figure 3). In this analysis, city output was again calculated by author location as defined by institutional address for any collaborative author (whole counts), whilst country output was derived from author location for any collaborative author (whole counts). Major hubs appear in Latin America (e.g. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bogotá, Colombia), Eastern Europe (e.g. Belgrade, Serbia; Sofia, Bulgaria; Vilnius, Lithuania), the Middle East (e.g. Beirut, Lebanon), and Asia (e.g. Singapore, Singapore).

Figure 3: Proportion of 1996-2010 Arts & Humanities scholarly journal articles output by author affiliation city relative to country Arts & Humanities scholarly articles output, restricted to cities with 100 or more Arts & Humanities articles. Sources: Scopus and GPS visualizer. Size of the circles represent the proportion of Arts & Humanities papers relative to country Arts & Humanities output; color of the circles depends on absolute number of Arts & Humanities papers (red >1000, orange =500-999, yellow =300-499, green =200-299, blue =100-199).

 

Relative to overall country output: same unexpected places

Delving into city Arts & Humanities output compared to country overall output again shows some less expected locations, most of them consistent, however, with the analysis relative to Arts & Humanities output (see Figure 4). This makes sense as for many institutes, absolute overall output tends to correlate with absolute subject volume, due to the general size and scale of the institution. In this analysis, city output was again calculated by author location as defined by institutional address for any collaborative author (whole counts), whilst country output was derived from author location for any collaborative author (whole counts). We find similar hubs in Latin America (e.g. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bogotá, Colombia; Santiago, Chile), Eastern Europe (e.g. Vilnius, Lithuania; Tartu, Estonia; Budapest, Hungary), the Middle East (e.g. Beirut, Lebanon), and Western Europe (Nicosia, Cyprus; Reykjavik, Iceland; Dublin, Ireland).

Figure 4: Proportion of 1996-2010 Arts & Humanities scholarly journal articles output by author affiliation city relative to country overall scholarly articles output, restricted to cities with 100 or more Arts & Humanities articles. Sources: Scopus and GPS visualizer. Size of the circles represent the proportion of Arts & Humanities papers relative to country overall output; color of the circles depends on absolute number of Arts & Humanities papers (red >1000, orange =500-999, yellow =300-499, green =200-299, blue =100-199).

 

Four different maps for a single field?

This analysis shows how using different filters to explore the same data can reveal some remarkably varied results. As can be expected, the most productive cities in terms of absolute numbers of Arts & Humanities scholarly journal articles are well established academic and cultural hubs. However, once the numbers are normalized relative to the cities’ overall academic output, more unanticipated locations emerge with a high proportion of their output in the Arts & Humanities. And when the data are normalized against country Arts & Humanities or overall output, we see a radical shift in the regional distribution of the major players.

 

References

(1) Hicks, D. (2004) “The four literatures of social science” in Moed, H.F. (Ed.), Handbook of quantitative science and technology research, pp. 473–496. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
(2) Bornmann, L. et al. (2011) “Mapping excellence in the geography of science: An approach based on Scopus data”, Journal of Informetrics, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 537–546.
(3) Van Raan, A.F.J. (2012) “Universities Scale Like Cities”, http://arXiv:1211.5124
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