Shedding light on neuroscience: two decades of functional near-infrared spectroscopy applications and advances from a bibliometric perspective

Miguel Ângelo Monteiro Devezas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a noninvasive optical brain-imaging technique that detects changes in hemoglobin concentration in the cerebral cortex. fNIRS devices are safe, silent, portable, robust against motion artifacts, and have good temporal resolution. fNIRS is reliable and trustworthy, as well as an alternative and a complement to other brain-imaging modalities, such as electroencephalography or functional magnetic resonance imaging. Given these advantages, fNIRS has become a well-established tool for neuroscience research, used not only for healthy cortical activity but also as a biomarker during clinical assessment in individuals with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and cancer screening. Owing to its wide applicability, studies on fNIRS have increased exponentially over the last two decades. In this study, scientific publications indexed in the Web of Science databases were collected and a bibliometric-type methodology was developed. For this purpose, a comprehensive science mapping analysis, including top-ranked authors, journals, institutions, countries, and co-occurring keywords network, was conducted. From a total of 2310 eligible documents, 6028 authors and 531 journals published fNIRS-related papers, Fallgatter published the highest number of articles and was the most cited author. University of Tübingen in Germany has produced the most trending papers since 2000. USA was the most prolific country with the most active institutions, followed by China, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. The results also revealed global trends in emerging areas of research, such as neurodevelopment, aging, and cognitive and emotional assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-655
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Bibliometric
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Neuroimaging


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