What science are Australians doing?

By Shaun Hendy 02/08/2010 3


By popular request our intern has put together a subject area tag cloud for Australia from their 2009 publications in the ISI database.  As she observed, Australia is poorly designed.  So much so that it is hard to squeeze Canberra’s tag cloud in between those of Sydney and Melbourne.  In fact, you’ll see in the map below it has drifted out to the southern coast of New South Wales in a most aesthetic manner.  It may be in fact that many of the residents of Canberra would be in favour of such a move …

australiasubjects09 copy

Medicine and medical sciences dominate the clouds over Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.  Hobart looks a lot like Wellington with its emphasis on oceanography and marine biology.  Canberra seems to have a broader focus albeit with a strong contribution from the physical sciences and engineering.  Brisbane stands out with a very strong signal from biochemistry.


3 Responses to “What science are Australians doing?”

  • Interesting stuff… I assume that each cluster has been internally normalised, i.e. presumably Hobart would have lower total publications than Melbourne and thus a smaller cloud if the size was relative across all cities. Roughly how many papers is represented in each tag and how does that compare with the earlier NZ maps?

  • Hi Keith,

    yes, they are scaled locally (or internally). And as a first approximation, you can scale the numbers of publications by population size, although I am prepared to bet that Canberra will be an outlier (and not just in an geo-aesthetic sense). I will put up some raw total numbers when I have a chance, although if you have access to the ISI database its easy enough to do this yourself by an address search.

    Perhaps we also need a “What science are kiwis in Australia doing?” tag cloud?