THE SCIENCE OF DISASTER SCIENCE

From heat waves to droughts and record rainfall to flooding, natural disasters affect every part of our planet.

In 2015, three major international agreements addressing these threats were adopted: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, adopted at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk and Reduction (SFDRR).

Along with these agreements, research into disaster science not only advances our understanding of these often catastrophic events, it can illuminate paths towards better preparedness, recovery, and even prevention.

With Scopus® data from 2011-2015, we used SciVal to examine levels of scholarly output, research impact, trending topics, and more both globally and within Asia1, home to 60% of the world’s global population (4.4 billion)2 and many of the most active institutions investigating disaster science.

Disaster Science: Top Global Countries by Research Output

SciVal keywords:
"disaster science" OR "natural disaster(s)"

Disaster Science: Top Global Countries

Disaster Science: Top Global Countries - Map

Globally, research is largely concentrated in the United States and China

Disaster Science: Top Asian Countries by Research Output

Within Asia, China and Japan have the highest scholarly output, while India has the highest field-weighted citation impact.

Natural Disaters - Top Asian Countries

Disaster Science: Top Asian Countries

A Closer Look at Natural Disasters: Top Countries by Research Output

Exploring the research on specific natural disasters, we looked at the top countries based on number of publications:

Natural Disaters - Top Countries by Research Output

Natural Disaters - Top Countries by Research Output

A Closer Look at Natural Disasters: Top Asian Countries by Research Output

Top Asian Countries by Research Output

Top Asian Countries by Research Output

Insights into Research on Natural Disasters

Volcano Icon

According to the U.S. Smithsonian Institute, Indonesia is home to the greatest number – 139 – of volcanoes in the world.4  The island nation is also one of the most collaborative in its research into volcanoes - 67.3% of its publications are co-authored with an institution in another country.

China Academy of Science

Within Asia, the China Academy of Science has the most publications (673), the most citations (4,347), and the highest percentage of publications co-authored with institutions in another country (32.1%) on the topic of drought.

Tsunami Research

Japan is the most prolific country in Asia in terms of tsunami research with over 8x the number of publications (840) than the next country, India (99).

Study of rocks

Globally, trending areas of research on the topic of landslides include "slope stability," "alarm systems," and "lithology (the study of rocks)."

Cyclone Research

Globally, National Taiwan University is second (312) only to NOAA for publications on cyclones. Columbia University in the United States, however, has the highest FWCI at 1.82.

All data taken from SciVal – 11 October 2016 (Scopus® data up to 12 September 2016) and includes all publication type (articles, papers, surveys, reviews, editorials, etc.).

About SciVal: SciVal offers quick, easy access to the research performance of 7,500 research institutions and 220 countries worldwide.

About Scopus: Scopus® is the world’s leading abstract and citation database, and is used by institutions and governments, as well as for university rankings around the world.

1 As defined by the United Nations Statistics Division: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm

2 Source: United Nations. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. Accessed October 16, 2016. https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/publications/files/key_findings_wpp_2015.pdf.

3 FWCI is a measure that normalizes for differences in citation activity by subject field, article type, and publication year. With a world average of FWCI = 1, articles with a FWCI of 1.46 are cited 46% more than the world average.

3 These countries collaborated to publish "Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010" which had 188 authors and a FWCI of 402.19. The high FWCI of this publication is consistent with observations that publications with more authors receive more citations. Co-authorship on this specific publication contributes greatly to the calculated FWCI of countries with a smaller publication count, such as Canada, Italy and India.