Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group conditions classified as neuro-developmental disorders. Research activity on ASD is important for all countries since such disorders have both social and health consequences. The objective of this study was to analyze research output on ASD during the period 2005–2014.
All articles relevant to ASD plus all articles published in autism journals were retrieved using Scopus database. VOSviewer software was used to create density and network visualization maps. Bibliometric indicators were investigated by analyzing annual research output, languages, countries, institutions, journals, title terms, highly cited articles, and co-authorship relations.
A progressive annual growth of ASD research was observed from 2005 to 2014. During this period, a total of 18,490 articles were retrieved. The majority of these articles was published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders with 48,416 citations and an average citation of 23.59 citations per article. The countries that published the largest number of articles were the United States (US) (n = 8594; 46.48 %), United Kingdom (n = 2430; 13.14 %) and Canada (n = 1077; 5.8 %). International collaborations produced 30.18 % of the articles published by top 10 productive countries. King’s College London (UK) ranked first in number of publications and total citations. The top 10 list of productive institutions was dominated by US academic and research institutions. More than half of the highly cited articles were in the field of molecular genetics. Articles with more than 50 citations were published mainly by authors from USA, UK and Canada.
There is a worldwide growth of publications on ASD led by countries in Northern America and Europe. Retrieved articles were published in a wide range of journals. Molecular genetics of ASD is the primary hot topic on ASD. For some leading countries, intra country collaboration is dominant.