Stem Cell Research: A Bibliometric Analysis from 1999-2008

Article excerpt

Introduction

Stem cell research is a vital area of study. It is of interest to scientists in India and all countries [1]. Bibliometrics is a truly interdisciplinary research field. Bibliometrics comprises mathematics, social science, natural sciences, engineering, and life sciences. Bibliometric studies such as a work on the research productivity in ophthalmic and vision research used both the number of publications and qualitative measures of journals.[2] This article is a bibliometric study of a part of the literature on stem cell research.

Bibliometrics

The terms bibliometrics and scientometrics were introduced by Pritchard and by Nalimov and Mulchenko in 1969. Pritchard explained the term bibliometrics as "the application of mathematical and statistical methods to books and other media of communication." There have been many bibliometric studies of the literature in the sciences in the last 40 years. In chemical information and computer sciences (CICS), a bibliometric approach was used to survey state-of-the-art of research. Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences (JCICS) has been the leading journal in this area for the last 30 years. [3] One important element of bibliometrics is the author co-citation frequency matrix. It has been used to study Knowledge Management. Author co-citation frequencies were derived from the 1994-1998 academic literature and captured by the single search phrase of "Knowledge Management." [4] An economically and scientifically developing country like China has done research in the field of Neuroscience. A MEDLINE-based bibliometric analysis was done of the Chinese output in neuroscience for 1984 to 2001. [5] Research was done from the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database with the focus on growth rate, distribution of publications, productivity of authors, and multiple authorship patterns. [6] HIV/AIDS Research in India revealed the rapid growth of literature from 1992 onwards. The authorship distribution was examined using Lotka's Law. To identify the core journals Bradford's Law was used. The relative productivity of India was low and the focus was more on research and development. [7] Various aspects of nutrition research in Bangaladesh from 1972 to 2006 has been analyzed using bibliometrics. [8]

Materials and Methods

This study was confined to the published literature on the sub-discipline "Stem Cell" from the MEDLINE database. MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) leading bibliographic database, which contains more than 18 million references to journal articles in the life sciences with a concentration on biomedicine. MEDLINE covers biomedicine, health, life sciences, biology, environmental science, marine biology, plant, and animal science. The period chosen for the study was 1999 to 2008. The total number of records was 54,373.

Need for the Study

A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to divide (self-replicate) for unlimited periods, often throughout the life of the organism. Under the right conditions, stem cells can differentiate to the many different cell types that make up the organism. Many different studies have explored the efficacy of stem cell treatment. [9] [10] [11] [12 [13]

Limitations

The study is confined to literature from 1999 to 2008 that is covered in MEDLINE.

Methods

The MEDLINE database was searched using the the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) "Stem cell research". This yielded ten years of records that were downloaded into separate text files.

Data Analysis

The data was investigated with Bibexcel. This was developed by Olle Persson of Umea University in Sweden. This software is designed to analyse bibliographic data..

Objectives of the Study

* Observe authorship patterns

* Discover the degree of collabration

* Measure the quantum of research productivity in MEDLINE

* Study the linguistic distribution

* Study the geographical distribution

* Study the growth rate of production of literature

* Identify the most frequent journals

The yearwise distribution of data according to the number of authors is presented in Table 1. …