Scientific laws of research funding to support citations and diffusion of knowledge in life science

Melika Mosleh*, Saeed Roshani, Mario Coccia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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One of the main problems in scientometrics is to explore the factors that affect the growth of citations in publications to identify best practices of research policy to increase the diffusion of scientific research and knowledge in science and society. The principal purpose of this study is to analyze how research funding affects the citation-based performance of scientific output in vital research fields of life science, which is a critical province (area of knowledge) in science to improve the wellbeing of people. This study uses data from the Scopus database in 2015 (to assess the impact on citations in 2021, after more than 5 years) concerning different disciplines of life science, given by “agricultural and biological sciences”, “biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology”, “Immunology and microbiology”, “neuroscience” and “pharmacology, toxicology and pharmaceutics”. Results demonstrate that although journals publish un-funded articles more than funded publications in all disciplines of life science, the fraction of total citations in funded papers is higher than the share in the total number of publications. In short, funded documents receive more citations than un-funded papers in all research fields of life science under study. Findings also support that citations of total (funded + un-funded), funded, and un-funded published papers have a power-law distribution in all five research fields of life science. Original results here reveal a general property in scientific development: funded research has a higher scaling potential than un-funded publications. Critical implications of research policy, systematized in a decision-making matrix, suggest that R&D investments in “Neuroscience” can generate a positive impact of scientific results in science and society-in terms of citations-higher than other research fields in medicine. Overall, then, results here can explain some characteristics driving scientific change and help policymakers and scholars to allocate resources towards research fields that facilitate the development and diffusion of scientific research and knowledge in life science for positive societal impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1931-1951
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Decision-making matrix
  • Power-law distribution
  • Research funding
  • Research policy
  • Science diffusion
  • Scientific development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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