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Quantifying the evolution of a scientific topic: reaction of the academic community to the Chornobyl disaster


  • O. Mryglod

    () (Institute for Condensed Matter Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)

  • Yu. Holovatch

    (Institute for Condensed Matter Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)

  • R. Kenna

    (Coventry University)

  • B. Berche

    (Université de Lorraine)


Abstract We analyze the reaction of academic communities to a particular urgent topic which abruptly arises as a scientific problem. To this end, we have chosen the disaster that occurred in 1986 in Chornobyl (Chernobyl), Ukraine, considered as one of the most devastating nuclear power plant accidents in history. The academic response is evaluated using scientific-publication data concerning the disaster using the Scopus database to present the picture on an international scale and the bibliographic database “Ukrainika naukova” to consider it on a national level. We measured distributions of papers in different scientific fields, their growth rates and properties of co-authorship networks. Elements of descriptive statistics and tools of complex network theory are used to highlight the interdisciplinary as well as international effects. Our analysis allows comparison of contributions of the international community to Chornobyl-related research as well as integration of Ukraine in international research on this subject. Furthermore, the content analysis of titles and abstracts of the publications allowed detection of the most important terms used for description of Chornobyl-related problems.

Suggested Citation

  • O. Mryglod & Yu. Holovatch & R. Kenna & B. Berche, 2016. "Quantifying the evolution of a scientific topic: reaction of the academic community to the Chornobyl disaster," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(3), pages 1151-1166, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:106:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1820-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-015-1820-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ludo Waltman & Nees Eck, 2013. "A smart local moving algorithm for large-scale modularity-based community detection," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 86(11), pages 1-14, November.
    2. Magnone, Edoardo, 2012. "An analysis for estimating the short-term effects of Japan's triple disaster on progress in materials science," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 289-297.
    3. Alesia Zuccala & Nees Jan van Eck, 2011. "Poverty Research in a Development Policy Context," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(3), pages 311-330, May.
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    1. repec:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2377-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:117:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2860-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:jbecon:v:88:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s11573-018-0898-4 is not listed on IDEAS


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