Online research papers on soyproducts (soymilk and tofu) were carefully examined and it became clear that many different factors were driving researchers to pursue this field worldwide. Products made from soy are a promising source of plant-based nutrition that broadens the range of available foods for vegetarians and offers nutrition. Due to the presence of high protein content in soybean, soy-based foods like tofu and soymilk are also excellent sources of protein.
Research trends in soymilk and tofu
A useful indicator of the research trend in a particular field of study is the volume of publications that are released on an annual basis. Hence, the analysis of the trend in publication volume can reveal information about the likely direction of future research. To assess the research trend on soymilk, the number of publications and the number of citations were plotted year over year from 2011 to 2022 (Fig 3A).
Fig 3: Showing the research trends (A) depicting the number of publications related to soymilk with respective citations from 2011 to 2022, (B) indicating the number of publications related to soymilk and tofu from 1973 to 2021.
The number of publications increasing from 2011 to till date (Aug. 2022) but the citation is declining since 2016.Most articles (139 publications) on soymilk have been published thus far in 2021. Only 82 publications (articles, book chapters and edited books) on soymilk have been identified as of the time this report was being written in 2022. According to the observed pattern in 2021, there is a good chance that there will be more publications in this field of study than there were in 2021. The publication graph also implies that scientists are becoming more interested in these plant-based beverages.
In the case of tofu, the highest number of publications (416) has been published in 2021 and 233 publications were reported in 2022. However, Fig 3B demonstrates that there are far more papers relating to tofu than are relating to soymilk, indicating that tofu was studied by researchers considerably earlier than soymilk. Additionally, the growing popularity of soymilk articles suggested that the scientific community has recently been more interested in plant-based beverages as a result of consumer demand.
Authorship and citation relationship
Numerous names emerged throughout the analysis of the list of authors who had written about soymilk and tofu and the top five authors with the greatest number of soymilk and tofu-related publications are included in Table 1 below. With 28 publications, the research group of Nagendra Prasad Shah was the leading group in the aforementioned soymilk research section, while the Lorna Woodrow group topped the tofu-related publications with 22 articles (Table 1).
Table 1: Top five authors who published the highest number of documents related to “tofu” and “soymilk”.
It is possible to identify the most active scholars in an area based on how many documents they have published and how many citations they have got. Given that Nagendra, Yu-Fei Hua and Tomotada Ono have the most documents and citations, this may indicate that these three writers are the most active soymilk researchers worldwide.
The most influential researcher was identified based on the average number of citations per document (CPD). In other words, a higher number of citations would indicate a higher quality paper, which may be determined by computing the average number of citations per document. With 17 papers and 538 citations, Tomotada Ono has an outstanding average of 32 CPD and is linked to 96 other researchers both inside and outside of the cluster (Fig 7). This shows that, in comparison to the others, Tomatado Ono’s documents had a greater influence because they had an average of over 32 CPD. Distantly present researchers and groups on the network visualization suggested that despite the author’s prodigious research output and strong networking and collaboration skills, his findings are not as significant as those of other researchers.
Fig 4 and Fig 6 depict the network map of these 470 researchers (soymilk) and 368 researchers (tofu), with fourteen and sixteen colored clusters indicating various researchers working in small groups, respectively. Nagendra Prasad Shah research team had direct connections to 183 other researchers, formed the largest cluster and was highly networked, indicating that these authors were engaged in collaborative research (Fig 5).
Fig 4: Soymilk publication (470 researchers, 8635 citation links, 20568 total citations and 14 clusters).
Fig 5: Highlighting the key author (Nagendra Prasad Shah) in soymilk-related publications with 183 citation links, 857 total citations and 28 publications.
Fig 6: Citation network related to Tofu indicating 368 researchers, 4274 citation links, 9921 total citations, 16 clusters).
Most productive journals in soymilk and tofu research
Fig 7: Highlighting the key author (Tomatado ono) in tofu-related publications with a 96-citation link, 538 total citations and 17 publications.
The significant publications where the authors like to publish their findings were identified by the relationship between sources and citations. The top ten journals for soymilk and tofu-related research articles are listed in Table 2, respectively.
Table 2: Top ten journals that published research related to soymilk and tofu.
The Journal of Food Science received 3606 citations for its 121 soymilk-related studies, making it the most widely used journal. While the IOP Conference Series Earth and Environmental Science was the most popular publication, with 107 tofu-related research and 152 citations.
The complex statistic known as Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) automatically takes into account the variations in citation styles that exist throughout different fields. This is accomplished by contrasting the average number of citations per publication for each journal with the field’s citation potential, which is represented by the total number of articles that cite each journal. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and Food Chemistry both have high SNIP scores of 1.4 and 2.2 and high Cite scores of 8.6 and 13.1, respectively, indicating that they are both high-impact journals. As a result, despite having fewer articles, both have high citation per publication (CPP) values of 49 and 34, respectively. While the CPP values for tofu are 49 and 39, respectively, according to the publication.
Dominating in the field of research and country
The field of research for soymilk and tofu is represented through horizontal bar graphs in Fig 8.
Fig 8: Horizontal bar graph indicating the number of publications in the field of research for (A) soymilk and (B) tofu.
Soymilk and tofu-related scientific documents are mostly published in the engineering category which is 949 and 1314 respectively, followed by medical and health science (511 and 939) and biological sciences (296 and 463). This indicates that processing-related research is dominating in both soymilk and tofu and hence more documents are published in the engineering category. Similarly, health beneficial properties of soymilk and tofu might be the reason for the higher documents published in the medical and health category. In contrast, there are relatively few publications published that discuss soymilk and tofu in the categories of language, communication and culture as well as built environment and design, which is a strong indication of a poor relationship.
Fig 9 showing the leading countries in the field of research related to soy-based foods particularly soymilk and tofu in last decades.
Fig 9: Map of nations where at least ten soy-based (soymilk and tofu) research article has been published.
Japan, United states, Indonesia, China and India are the top five countries with 363, 237, 230, 204 and 127 publications related to soy-based foods in last decades.