Analysis of the research performed by the Italian academic scientists belonging to the research field “Arboriculture and Fruitculture”, coded as AGR/03

Andreotti Carlo [Facoltá di Scienze e Tecnologie, Libera Università di Bolzano];
Basile Boris [Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II];
La Malfa Stefano [Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Alimentazione e Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Catania]

The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (Miur) has recently planned the reorganization of the academic fields of competence aiming to rationalize the research and teaching activities of the Universities. With the aim of providing elements to support this discussion, a survey was carried out to investigate the research performed by the academic scientists belonging to the research field coded as AGR/03 - “Arboriculture and Fruitculture”. The analysis focused on the 1594 scientific articles indexed in Scopus and published by a total of 144 scientists, including researchers and professors (as from the inquiry of July the 1st, 2018) in the five-year period 2013-2017. The dataset indicated that these papers were published in a very large body of international scientific journals (389 journals), suggesting no strong preference for any specific journal. However, more than 20% of all the papers were published on Acta Horticulturae, a series of proceedings of congress organized by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). An average number of 6.4 authors per publication was recorded. Among the journals with impact factor (IF) where the papers were published, a relevant percentage of them felt in the first or second quartile (45.4 and 28.1%, respectively) of the IF frequency distribution of the specific subject category. Very large resulted also the number of studied species, even though 48% of the articles dealt with grape, olive, peach or apple. The scientific topics were also very diverse and were included in 40 different research areas. Approximately 80% of the papers focused anyway on four main research areas: i) management practices; ii) plant breeding and variety innovation; iii) plant physiology and environmental physiology; iv) quality, nutraceutical value, processing and storage. All these research areas are within the framework of the scientific-disciplinary field AGR/03. On the whole, the results of the survey demonstrate the presence of an intense research activity covering a large number of topics and crop species. The research themes are mostly coherent with the formal competencies declared for the AGR/03 sector by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and show some overlaps with close scientific sectors.

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