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  • 1 Indian Institute of Chemical Biology 4 Raja S C Mullick Road 700 032 Jadavpur, Calcutta India 4 Raja S C Mullick Road 700 032 Jadavpur, Calcutta India
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Knowledge and literature of neuroscience started growing steadily during the last few centuries. This paper aims to study the growth of knowledge in neuroscience as well as its literature. The first part of the paper, enumerates a historical survey of the growth of knowledge based on published data. This is done in view of the fact that a consolidated information at one place will be of great value to the students of scientometrics and also to the research scholars who are desirous to undertake research in this discipline. The second part of the paper is entirely based on experimental data which were collected to analyse the growth of literature of the subject.Neuroscience is notable for its wide range of approaches and techniques. In no other branch of research such a manysided approach is so essential. As a consequence last few decades have witnessed an accelerated research tempo and unprecedented growth of the literature on the subject covering its different sub-fields with gradual and systematic transgression of the conventional boundaries between them. To cope with the growth of literature, a new bibliometric technique has been applied to rank periodicals in the field based on 5785 citation data collected from the bibliographic data base published in the source journal namely,Annual Review of Neuroscience. It is expected that this list will reflect the impact of literature on the advancement of knowledge in the field of neuroscience. A striking feature of this study is the comparatively small contribution (8.8%) coming from the application of biochemical techniques and concepts to neuroscience research which differs from what we had noted earlier in the case of other biomedical disciplines. High position occupied by multidisciplinary science journals brings out the significance of new neuroscience research to science as a whole and confirms the importance of this category of journals in the dissemination of knowledge for the overall growth of science. Relatively low proportion, of citations of journals of medicine, both general as well as specialities, in spite of direct relevance of much work in this field to neurological and mental illness reflects the preponderance of interest in the funcamental aspects of neuroscience research. Like other biomedical disciplines neuroscience literature also exhibits English as the most-preferred lingua franca of the subject; dominance of journals published from USA, UK, Germany and the Netherland; a wide scatter of cited literature showing the multidisciplinary approach characteristic of present-day neuroscience research. The results of this study support Bradford's Law of Scattering and also Sengupta's Law of Bibliometrics. It is expected that the present ranking list will be of great help to the working neuroscientists to select a handful of core periodicals in the field for regular browsing from the viewpoint of their importance and significance as these core journals identify maximum segment of contemporary literature on the topics of direct relevance to their day to day research in the field.