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24.08.2023 •

Explosive Growth in Materials Science: Metrics, Open Access, and Future Trends

The field of materials science has experienced remarkable growth in the last two decades, driven by global efforts to transition to clean economies. Materials scientists have played a key role in developing efficient resource utilization, harnessing renewable energy sources, and addressing socio-economic challenges.

The research output in materials science has expanded exponentially. In 2003, about 29,000 research articles were published across 177 journals, but in 2019, this number increased to 129,000 articles in 314 journals, reflecting over four times growth in just 16 years.

Amidst this rapid expansion, staying informed about the most crucial developments can be challenging for researchers and librarians. However, various metrics can help guide attention. The three most common metrics in materials science are the journal impact factor (IF), citation count, and altmetrics. While the latter two measure article reach, the IF assesses how often a journal's recent publications are cited, enabling comparisons within the field.

Wiley's Materials Science portfolio boasts well-respected journals with impressive impact factors, such as Advanced Materials (27.398) and Advanced Energy Materials (25.245). Nevertheless, other factors must be considered when evaluating a journal's influence. The rise of open-access publishing in materials science has prompted the launch of new open-access journals like Small Science and Nano Select, catering to researchers' needs.

Special Issues within existing journals also highlight significant research trends, like this year's celebration of 100 years of polymer science with Virtual Special Issues in Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, and Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Tracking IF trends over the years reveals growing fields like Solar Energy and Healthcare Materials, with new titles like Solar RRL (7.527) and Advanced Sustainable Systems (4.869) reflecting this progress.

At Wiley, the Materials Science and Physics team is dedicated to increasing the reach of published work. In addition to high IFs, community-facing platforms like "Advanced Science News" and an active social media presence ensure broad exposure for research. This not only enhances altmetrics scores but also fosters potential applications and collaborations, which are the ultimate goals of their editorial efforts.

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