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PLoS One. 2018 Jan 19;13(1):e0191250. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191250. eCollection 2018.

Visualized analysis of developing trends and hot topics in natural disaster research.

Shen S1,2,3, Cheng C1,2,3, Yang J1,2,3, Yang S1,2,3.

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Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
Center for Geodata and Analysis, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.


This study visualized and analyzed the developing trends and hot topics in natural disaster research. 19694 natural disaster-related articles (January 1900 to June 2015) are indexed in the Web of Science database. The first step in this study is using complex networks to visualize and analyze these articles. CiteSpace and Gephi were employed to generate a countries collaboration network and a disciplines collaboration network, and then attached hot topics to countries and disciplines, respectively. The results show that USA, China, and Italy are the three major contributors to natural disaster research. "Prediction model", "social vulnerability", and "landslide inventory map" are three hot topics in recent years. They have attracted attention not only from large countries like China but also from small countries like Panama and Turkey. Comparing two hybrid networks provides details of natural disaster research. Scientists from USA and China use image data to research earthquakes. Indonesia and Germany collaboratively study tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. However, Indonesian studies focus on modeling and simulations, while German research focuses on early warning technology. This study also introduces an activity index (AI) and an attractive index (AAI) to generate time evolution trajectories of some major countries from 2000 to 2013 and evaluate their trends and performance. Four patterns of evolution are visible during this 14-year period. China and India show steadily rising contributions and impacts, USA and England show relatively decreasing research efforts and impacts, Japan and Australia show fluctuating activities and stable attraction, and Spain and Germany show fluctuating activities and increasing impacts.

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