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2000–2009 Publication metrics reveal global trends in grain legume research

D. Millot1, F. Bridet-Guillaume2, D. l’Hostis3, A. Baranger4, J. Buitink5, M.H. Jeuffroy6, M.B. Magrini7, B. Tivoli4, G. Duc1

1INRA, UMR1347 Agroécologie, Dijon ; 2INRA, UAR116, Equipe Régionale d’Information Scientifique et Technique, Rennes ; 3INRA, UAR0581, Equipe Régionale d’Information Scientifique et Technique, Nantes ; 4INRA, UMR1349 Institut de Génétique Environnement et Protection des Plantes, Le Rheu ; 5INRA, UMR1191, Physiologie Moléculaire des Semences, Angers ; 6INRA, UMR0211, Agronomie INRA-AgroParis tech, Thiverval-Grignon ; 7INRA, UMR1248, AGrosystèmes et développement terrItoRial,Castanet-Tolosan, France
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Grain legumes grown in Europe produce protein-rich seeds of good nutritional value. They can partially replace imported soybean, which amounted to about 35 Mt in 2010. Legumes also fix nitrogennaturally with the help of rhizobiaceae bacteria, resulting in fossil energy saving and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The strengths and weaknesses of grain legume research in Europe and other nations are not well known. Therefore we studied worldwide publications on grain legumes from 2000–2009, using the CAB database. We built a world corpus of 16131 CAB references on temperate grain legumes grown for feeds in Europe (pea, faba bean, lupin, chickpea) and compared them to the world soyabean corpus of 20933 references. Using CABIcodes and CAB descriptors, we built several disciplinary corpora, such as physiology, genetic, economy, agronomy, uses, and topical corpora, such as symbioses and soil microflora, and biotic or abiotic stresses. We studied research weight by species, discipline and topic. Our results reveal a larger investment in market and uses (feed, food, non-food, non-feed) studies on soyabean and higher use of model legume species by research on European grain legumes.

This study demonstrates that bibliometry now provides useful tools to evaluate and guide priority research.