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Biomimetics in 2021: An Academic Progress Report
Post: 2022-04-05 17:15  View:204

For this report, Thomson Reuters Web of Science Database (WoS) was taken as the source of publications. Data were tracked during March of 2022 to retrieve publications of the year 2021. Topic including the title, abstract and keywords were taken as the searching fields. Keywords tracked included biomimicry, biomimetic, biomimetics, biomimic, bio-inspired, bioinspired, bionic, nature-inspired, biologically inspired, bioinspiration, bio-inspiration, and biomimicking. The rankings of different countries/regions, universities, authors, journals and research areas were generated based on the final number of published papers. 

General

The total number of research papers retrieved in 2021 was 9813 with 112 highly cited papers and 10 hot papers. The growth trend indicated that biomimetic research has got a boost in 2021 with a growth rate of about 17 % (Table 1). The terminology “biomimetic” has always been the most commonly used keyword in the field, while the keywords biomimic, bio-inspiration, biomimicking, bioinspiration, and biomimicry were seldom used.

Table1 The number of biomimetic research papers retrieved in WoS

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Note: Final number was smaller than the subtotal because of the duplicated papers tracked by different keywords.

Countries/Regions Distribution

In 2021, there were 115 countries and regions in total involved in the publishing of biomimetic research papers, among which the top 20 covered over 84% of the total papers, while the rest only accounted for nearly 16% (Fig 1). The top 10 countries were mainly distributed in China, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, South Korea, Italy, France, Australia and Japan (Table 2). The top 20 countries and region were totally the same with those in 2020, and the ranking of which almost remained unchanged.

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Fig 1 Distribution of biomimetic research papers among different countries/regions in 2021

Table 2 The top 20 countries/regions in 2021 (The number included co-authored papers)

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Universities Distribution

There were 32 universities in total publishing 60 or more biomimetic research papers in 2021. The top 10 universities were totally from China covering University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Jilin University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University, Sichuan University, Tsinghua University, Beihang University, Harbin Institute of Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, and Huazhong University of Science Technology (Table 3). According to the results, 71% of the top 100 universities were from China and the United States, in which China accounts for 57% (Fig 2). 

Table 3 The top 32 universities in 2021 (The number included co-authored papers)

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Fig 2 Distribution of top 100 universities among different countries in 2021

Authors Distribution

The bibliometric software of CiteSpace 5.8.R3 was used to analyze the authors distribution in the field of biomimetics in 2021 based on the WoS Core Collection. According to the results, there were 244 core authors in the field, and their contributions accounted for ca. 24% of the global publications. It should be noted that the software could not accurately distinguish the affiliations to which the authors belong, resulting in the unexpected publication accumulation of different authors with the same initials. After carefully identification and verification, the top 11 core authors in the field in 2021 had been obtained as showed in Table 4.   

Table 4 The top 11 authors in 2021 (WoS Core Collection)

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Journals Distribution

Based on the statistics of source titles, the top 20 journals were shown in Table 5. It can be seen that in recent years more and more biomimetic achievements have been published in the high-level journals such as Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Advanced Science, Nature Communications etc., indicating that bimimetic research has received more and more attention from academic fields. Currently, there are 9 professional journals in total in the field of biomimetics, and 8 of them have been already included in the WoS (Table 6). 

Table 5 The top 20 journals in 2021

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Table 6 The professional journals in the field of biomimetics

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Areas Distribution

In 2021, 140 research areas defined by the WoS are involved in biomimetic research, and mainly distributed in the fields of engineering, materials science, chemistry, science and technology-other topics (Table 7). Biomimetics is a highly interdisciplinary domain, and its research methods involve most of the disciplines of science and engineering. Therefore, it is of great significance to promote multidisciplinary intersection and accelerate the development of biomimetics.

Table 7 Research area distribution of biomimetic research papers in 2021

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Conclusion

The increasing number of biomimetic research papers included by WoS indicated that the global biomimetic research activities have been steadily increasing since in recent years, and the countries and universities engaged in biomimetic research have also been on the rise. As a hotspot in scientific research in the new century, biomimetics has been attracting extensive attention of more countries and scholars and will play an increasingly important role in industrial and agricultural production, scientific and technological development, and national defense construction. 

(by ISBE Secretariat)

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