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Ulcerative colitis: A scientometric approach to the global research output and network

  • Norman Schöffel
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University, Haus 9B, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Tel.: +49 69 6301 6650; fax: +49 69 6301 7053.
    Affiliations
    Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany
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  • Michael H.K. Bendels
    Affiliations
    Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany
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  • David A. Groneberg
    Affiliations
    Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany
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      Ulcerative colitis (UC) is the most common type of inflammatory bowel disease worldwide [
      • Danese S.
      • Fiocchi C.
      Ulcerative colitis.
      ]. Despite decades of scientific work there are many aspects of uncertainty leading to an ongoing interest in the topic. Due to the mass of publications on UC it is difficult for a scientist to survey the scientific output related to the topic, to measure its scientific importance; or to identify countries, institutions, and scientists that produce the most important scientific work in the field. In this context, tremendous efforts were made to establish reliable methods and parameters aiming to evaluate the scientific output. These efforts have finally led to the birth of “scientometrics”, which constitutes a new field to evaluate the structure, productivity, progress, quality, impact and interconnectivity of scientific work [
      • Garfield E.
      Journal impact factor: a brief review.
      ,
      • Groneberg-Kloft B.
      • Fischer T.C.
      • Quarcoo D.
      • Scutaru C.
      New quality and quantity indices in science (NewQIS): the study protocol of an international project.
      ]. The combination of scientometric analyses and novel visualization techniques can be used to assess and to visualize the quality and quantity of research activity related to distinct areas of science. Since scientometric achievements (such as publication in “high Impact-Factor journals”) are of growing importance for funding, there is a growing interest and awareness for scientometrics in the scientific community. In this context, we evaluate and visualize all research published on UC by using a validated scientometric approach [
      • Groneberg-Kloft B.
      • Fischer T.C.
      • Quarcoo D.
      • Scutaru C.
      New quality and quantity indices in science (NewQIS): the study protocol of an international project.
      ,
      • Schöffel N.
      • Gfroerer S.
      • Rolle U.
      • Bendels M.H.K.
      • Klingelhöfer D.
      • Groneberg-Kloft B.
      Hirschsprung disease: critical evaluation of the global research architecture employing scientometrics and density-equalizing mapping.
      ,
      • Schöffel N.
      • Kirchdörfer M.
      • Brüggmann D.
      • Bundschuh M.
      • Ohlendorf D.
      • Groneberg D.A.
      • et al.
      Sarcoidosis: a descriptive approach to the global research network and recent scientific developments.
      ]. We employed the Web of Science database for data collection as it provides complete bibliographic data. The following search term was used to identify UC-specific publications: {Topic:(ulcerativ* AND colitis OR ulcerativ* AND Enteritis OR colitis AND ulcerosa OR enteritis AND ulcerosa) OR Topic = (“colitis chronica purulenta” OR “colitis polyposa” OR “gastroenteritis ulcerosa” OR “backwash ileitis”)}. 40,343 publications in the field of UC were released until May, 2016. The largest number was published by the USA (9221), the U.K. (4455), and Germany (n = 2989) (Fig. 1A ). All journals were analysed according to their productivity and the impact of their published work in the field of UC (Fig. 1B). Here, “Gastroenterology” was identified as the most productive journal (n = 3617). Among the most productive journals in the field, the “Lancet” had the highest citation rate (n = 47,56). In brief, “Gastroenterology” can be considered as the most “prolific” journal on UC combining productivity (i.e. number of publications) and quality (i.e. number of citations) best. The most productive author on UC is “Sandborn, WJ” (338 publications) (Fig. 1C). On the opposite side “Targan, SR” occupies the highest number of citations (n = 15,168). The USA combines the highest number of international cooperations (n = 1602). The most intensive collaborative networks were established between the USA and Canada (n = 403) (Fig. 2A ). All scientific work was analysed according to their institution of origin. The highest output was issued by the “Harvard University” (779 publications). The most productive cooperation was authored by the members of the “Imperial College London” and the “St Marks Hospital” (n = 75) (Fig. 2B). Overall, the most intensive collaborations were found for American and European institutions; which constitute the two nuclei for UC research worldwide. The most intensive cooperations among scientists working in the field are between “Campieri, M” and “Gionchetti, P” (n = 128 publications) (Fig. 2C).
      Fig. 1
      Fig. 1(A) Density equalizing map projection illustrating publication volumes of each country regarding UC. The area of each country was scaled in proportion to its total number of publications. (B) Most productive journals regarding UC with the average citation rate these publications gather. (C) Most productive authors regarding UC with the total number of citations these publications gather.
      Fig. 2
      Fig. 2(A) Cooperation between countries regarding UC; numbers in brackets (publication volumes/number of published items in cooperation). (B) Institutional cooperation on UC; numbers in brackets (total amount of publications/number of publications in cooperation); number on lines representing number of cooperation. (C) Cooperation between authors regarding UC; numbers in brackets (publication volumes/number of published items in cooperation); number on lines representing number of cooperation.

      Keywords

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