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Collaborative interdisciplinary astrobiology research: a bibliometric study of the NASA Astrobiology Institute

This study aims to undertake a bibliometric investigation of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) funded research that was published between 2008 and 2012 (by teams of Cooperative Agreement Notice Four and Five). For this purpose, the study creates an inventory of publications co-authored through NAI funding and investigates journal preferences, international and institutional collaboration, and citation behaviors of researchers to reach a better understanding of interdisciplinary and collaborative astrobiology research funded by the NAI. Using the NAI annual reports, 1210 peer-reviewed publications are analyzed. The following conclusions are drawn: (1) NAI researchers prefer publishing in high-impact multidisciplinary journals. (2) Astronomy and astrophysics are the most preferred categories to publish based on Web of Science subject categories. (3) NAI is indeed a virtual institution; researchers collaborate with other researchers outside their organization and in some cases outside the U.S. (4) There are prominent scholars in the NAI co-author network but none of them dominates astrobiology.