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World Trends in Psychological Research Output and Impact

Published Online:

Research output and impact are important indices of the health of individual fields of science. The present study analyzed publications and citations in psychology recorded in Web of Science for the years 1996 to 2010 for 73 countries, and the association of output with indices of national development. Authors with affiliations to institutions in the United States or Western Europe were the major contributors over the period, with output and impact being highly correlated. Authors from the United States showed the single largest contribution to publications and citations, but their output, in terms of percentage share of world output, has decreased over the period. A nation's gross domestic income per head of population was related to output. The level of development of a country, its ratings on economic and political freedom, and its score on individualism–collectivism were also related to output, but when income per capita was held constant, the correlations with these other variables became statistically nonsignificant. Ways in which psychological research can be promoted beyond Europe and North America are briefly considered.