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Navigating neurological drug research in China : perspectives from research collaboration networks

English Abstract

Objectives: The discovery of new neurological therapeutic agents is one of the most active areas of research and development in China. However, only few attempts have so far been made at reviewing studies in this field systematically, especially from perspectives based on research collaboration networks. This paper visualizes the landscape of Chinese institutes in neurological drug research based on co-authorship of academic articles and reveals the research directions of identified communities by scientometric methodology. Methods: A total of 629 papers published during 2008-2013 under the subject categories “Pharmacology & Pharmacy” or “Integrative & Complementary Medicine” combining with “Clinical Neurology”, containing either “China”, “Taiwan”, “Hong Kong” or “Macao (or Macau)” in the author’s address field were retrieved from the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) Database of Web of Science. We used collaboration network analysis to define an institutional network and thematic community analysis to find out the research topics of each identified community. Results: Analysis of academic articles indicates that institutes in Shanghai and Taiwan were key participants in the network, while the ones from Hong Kong were acting as a bridge for knowledge exchange between mainland China and Taiwan. Since most of the close partnerships were taking place between institutes within the same region, we believe that geographic distance was one of the factors influencing collaborative behavior. Research in sample articles covered a wide range of topics, in which depression, schizophrenia, serotonin and genetic polymorphism were the most extensively studied issues. Conclusions: Connections across regions and academia-industry pairs were relatively low; the government should encourage collaborations between distant institutes and involvement of pharmaceutical industry. Meanwhile, results from characterizing communities provide guidance for future collaboration and direction for investments.

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Si Tou, Ka Weng


Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences




Neuropharmacology -- Research

Nervous system -- Diseases -- Treatment

Drugs -- Research -- China



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