Which Are the “Best” Cities for Psychology Research Worldwide?


  • Lutz Bornmann
  • Loet Leydesdorff
  • Günter Krampen


We present scientometric results about worldwide centers of excellence in psychology. Based on Web of Science data, scientific excellence can be identified for cities from where highly-cited papers originate. Data refer to all psychology articles published in 2007 which are documented in the Social Science Citation Index and to their citation frequencies from 2007 to May 2011. 218 cities are visualized with an article output of at least 50 in 2007. Statistical z tests are used for the evaluation of the degree to which an observed number of top-cited papers (top-10%) for a city differs from the number expected on the basis of randomness in the selection of papers. The map points at excellence centers in cities at the East and West Coast of the USA as well as in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and Taiwan. These results indicate that highly-cited psychological research articles come from the Anglo-American countries and some of the non-English European countries in which the number of English-language publications has increased during the last decades. Implications of the results for the publication strategies of psychologists in non-English speaking countries are discussed as well as the neccessity to care for qualitative criteria in evaluations in addition to quantitative, scientometric criteria.