Research Trends in Oncology: A Scientometric AnalysisShilpa B. S1* and S. Padmamma2*
This paper highlights the publication status and growth of oncology research across the world and makes quantitative and qualitative assessment by way of analyzing various features of research output based on Web of Science database during the period 2011-2020. A total of 89,857 publications were published on oncology. The parameters studied include: year-wise growth of publications, country-wise distribution of publications, highly productive institutes, and highly preferred journals for publications by scientists. The highest numbers of articles were published in the year 2020 and the lowest number of articles was published in the year 2011. The majority of the researchers prefer to publish their research papers in journal articles. Devidas M an Indian researcher is in first place in global ranking by contributing 209 articles in the field of oncology. Harvard University from USA is at first place by contributing 5,133 articles. The USA is found to be the highest country that contributed 43.18% of articles. Journal of Clinical Oncology stands at the first position with 5,339 articles.
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Oncology, Scientometrics, Web of Science, Cancer.
Oncology is a field of medicine that is concerned with cancer prohibitions, treatment, and care. A physician who works in the field of oncology is an oncologist (Robson et al., 2010). Doctors should first make a diagnosis of cancer, which is typically managed to accomplish through biopsy, endoscopy, X-ray, CT scanning, MRI, PET scanning, ultrasound, or other radiological processes (Weissleder and Pittet, 2008). Nuclear medicine, as well as blood tests and tumor markers, can be used to diagnose cancer. Oncology is frequently associated with hematology, the branch of medicine concerned with blood and blood-related disorders. The major types of cancer are breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, thyroid cancer, skin cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, blood cancer, etc. Scientometrics is a branch of the science ‘Science of Science’ (Shilpa et al., 2019). Haitun treats ‘Scientometrics’, as a scientific discipline, which performs reproducible measurements of scientific activity (Haitun, 1983). Scientometric is a method of studying the growth and pattern of science by analyzing scientific publications. The bibliometrics, scientometrics, and informetrics techniques are used to evaluate various important factors of a publication (Hood and Wilson, 2001). The majority of scientometric researches are conducted to examine an institution's or organization's quality of the research, publications of a specific subject discipline, research findings reported in a specific journal, or any other similar activity restricted to literary works or growth of research as well as its analysis through statistical methods published during a particular period.
Several scientometric studies on various subject disciplines have been conducted on a global level. Glynn et al. studied the research trend in breast cancer from 1945 to 2008 and revealed that research papers from countries with high levels of international collaboration had higher average citation rates. Raja, Ram Kumar, and Viji have analyzed global thyroid cancer research by using the scientometric technique. Pouris and Pourish have studied HIV/AIDS research output in the South Africa region. Senthilkumar and Muthukrishnan have conducted a citation analysis study on the British Journal of Cancer and found that a maximum number of citations were received in the year 2006. Shao et al. study revealed that 30 major international oncology journals do not represent the overall productivity in the field of oncology. Santhanakarthikeyan and Jeyshankar (2014) estimated that by 2020, 70 percent of all cancer cases will be in developing countries, with India accounting for one-fifth of these, with a population of over one billion people.
Senthilkumar and Muthukrishnan (2016) have studied 10,681 research papers published in Annals of Oncology. The study analyzed year-wise research output, authorship pattern, author affiliation, international collaboration, etc. Sab, Kumar and Biradar (2017) studied the research productivity of Indian biomedicine literature. The study found that In India, high-quality research is inadequate, necessitating business strategy, financing, and resource assistance. Muthukrishnan & Senthilkumar (2017) analyzed research output in the British journal of cancer from 2005 to 2015. The study analyzed the growth of literature, most prolific authors, keyword occurrence, author affiliation, etc. Sadik Batcha (2018) indicated in his study that Indian oral cancer research is continuously increasing. Mushtaq and Loan (2019) study revealed that the assessment of the nature of authorship collaboration highly reflects that medical scientists from India and Iran work together as a team with other researchers from both within and without India to find the final treatment for colorectal cancer. Shilpa and Padmamma (2020) examined 12, 75,877 research papers indexed in the PubMed database from 2010 to 2019. The study found that the relative growth rate was in a declining trend and doubling time was in increasing trend during the study period. Masjedi et al. study revealed that the USA was the most collaborative country, with no close collaboration reported with China, which was introduced as the most productive country in the oncology field. Huang, Zhao and Xiang (2021) have found that most contributed countries, institutions/organizations, and authors are the United States of America, Mem Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Mao JJ, whose frequencies are 196 articles, 24 articles, and 17 articles, respectively.
Need for the study
Librarians, scientists, researchers, and academic professionals should identify and assess recent developments in their field of interest. Scientometric is a tool to evaluate the research trend in a particular subject. Many research studies on the oncology field are done during the past decade. Hence there is a need to identify the research trend, institution's research output, prominent researcher's productivity, and core journals in the field of oncology. Scientometric analysis divulges the scattering of research in a particular subject as well as its impact. This research assists policymakers during evolving library acquisition and collection. And also there have been no such studies conducted to identify the growth of literature in oncology research as a whole for such a long duration i.e., 2011 to 2020.
Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is to present the growth of world literature on oncology and make a quantitative assessment of the status of the research by way of analyzing the following features of research output:
• Annual growth of publications.
• document types used by the scientists,
• most prolific authors in the field,
• organizational distribution,
• the extent of international collaboration,
• Ranking of journals based on number of publications.
Statement of the problem
The statement of the problem is "Research Trends in Oncology: A Scientometric Analysis".
This study is conducted to analyze the global research output in oncology literature. The necessary data was collected from the Web of Science database for the period 2011-2020 i.e., for ten years. The researcher has accessed the www.webofscience.com website to retrieve the necessary data. In the basic search field, the word "Oncology" has been employed by selecting topic search to download the bibliographic data. A total of 89,857 publications were retrieved from the Web of Science database. The downloaded data was analyzed by using the Histcite software and Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application as per the objectives of the study. This research study explores the year-wise distribution of publications, most prolific authors, ranking of journals and institutions, the geographical distribution of publications in oncology research during the study period.
Results and Discussion
Annual growth of publications
Table 1 depicts the year-wise research output in oncology literature from 2011 to 2020. There is a total of 89,857 papers are published on oncology literature during the study period. The highest number of articles i.e. 12,879 (14.33%) was published in the year 2020. The lowest number of articles 6,039 (6.72%) was published in the year 2011. The global output in Oncology has gradually increased year by year from 6,039 in 2011 to 12,879 in 2020. The study found that there is an increasing trend during the study period (Figure 1).
|Sl. No.||Year||No. of records||Percentage||Cumulative records||Cumulative percentage|
Table 1: Annual Growth of Publications
Figure 1: Annual Growth of Publications
Channels used for communicating oncology research
It has been observed from Table 2 that there are many communication channels were used by scientists to publish their research papers in oncology literature. The highest number of publications are published in the form of articles i.e. 56,166 (62.51%), followed by Meeting Abstracts 13,754 (15.31%) publications, Review Articles 12,597 (14.02%) publications, Editorial Materials 4,167 (4.64%) publications, Letters 1,136 (1.26%) publications and less than 1% of articles are published in other communication channels.
|Sl. No.||Communication channels||No. of records||Percentage|
Table 2: Channels used for Communicating Oncology Research
Most productive authors
Table 3 shows the highly productive authors from global oncology research output during the study period.The top 25 authors having been identified as the most productive authors in global oncology research. According to the study highest publications are by Devidas M from India occupies the first rank with 209 (0.233%) articles and her h-index is 41, followed by Wang J published 206 (0.229%) and his h-index is 32, Kim J H published 203 (0.226%) articles and his h-index is 28, Liu Y published 185 (0.206%) articles and his h-index is 29 (Figure 2).
|Sl. No.||Authors||No. of records||Percentage||Ranking||h-index|
Table 3: Most Productive Authors
Figure 2: Most Prolific Author
Institution/organizational productivity in oncology literature
Table 4 reveals the ranking list of the top 25 highly productive institutions/organizations based on their highest publications. According to the web of science database Harvard University, USA contributed the highest publications to the field of oncology i.e. 5,133 (5.71%) publications, followed by University of Texas System, USA published 5,044 (5.61%) articles, University of California System, USA contributed 4,011 (4.46%) articles, UTMD Anderson Cancer Center, USA published 3,898 (4.34%) articles, University of Toronto, Canada produced 3,132 (3.49%) publications.
|1||Harvard University, USA||5133||5.71|
|2||University of Texas System, USA||5044||5.61|
|3||University of California System, USA||4011||4.46|
|4||UTMD Anderson Cancer Center, USA||3898||4.34|
|5||University of Toronto, Canada||3132||3.49|
|6||Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA||2989||3.33|
|7||Dana Farber Cancer Institute, USA||2807||3.12|
|9||University of Pennsylvania, USA||2197||2.44|
|10||Mayo Clinic, USA||2068||2.30|
|11||University of London, UK||2024||2.25|
|12||Johns Hopkins University, USA||1991||2.22|
|13||University of California San Francisco, USA||1796||2.00|
|14||National Institutes of Health, USA||1774||1.97|
|15||Massachusetts General Hospital, USA||1671||1.86|
|17||Pennsylvania Commonwealth System of Higher Education, USA||1643||1.83|
|18||Duke University, USA||1618||1.80|
|19||Assistance Publique Hopitaux Paris, France||1596||1.78|
|20||University of Michigan, USA||1544||1.72|
|21||University of Michigan System, USA||1544||1.72|
|22||University Health Network Toronto, Canada||1530||1.70|
|23||University of Washington, USA||1512||1.68|
|24||Ohio State University, USA||1501||1.67|
|25||University of Washington Seattle, USA||1500||1.67|
Table 4: Institution/Organizational Productivity
Ranking of countries
Table 5 indicates the ranking of the top 25 countries based on the number of publications. It is observed from Table 5 that the United States of America ranked first by producing 38,799 (43.18%) publications, Germany secured the second rank with 7,461 (8.30%) publications followed by England 7,351 (8.18%) publications, Canada contributed 7,109 (7.91%) publications and Italy produced 6,322 (7.04%) publications. India is in 18th place in global ranking by contributing 1402 (1.56%) publications. Compare to the USA, Germany, UK, Canada, France India has contributed very little in the field of oncology (Figure 3).
|7||Peoples R China||4649||5.17|
Table 5: Ranking of Countries
Figure 3: Ranking of Countries
Subject-wise distribution of oncology research
Table 6 indicates the subject-wise distribution of oncology research during the study period. Oncology with 49, 275 (54.84%) publications, Radiology Nuclear Medicine Medical Imaging with 8,366 (9.31%) publications, Surgery with 6,000 (6.68%) publications, Hematology With 5654 (6.29%) publications, Pediatrics with 4,779 (5.32%) publications, Health Care Sciences Services with 4,707 (5.24%) publications were considered based on the total number of publications. It is observed from Table 6 that Oncology and Radiology Nuclear Medicine Medical Imaging and Surgery have been identified as the three high-priority research areas of global oncology research.
|Sl. No.||Subject category||No. of records||Percentage|
|2||Radiology Nuclear Medicine Medical Imaging||8366||9.31|
|6||Health Care Sciences Services||4707||5.24|
|11||Medicine General Internal||3585||3.99|
|12||Social Sciences Biomedical||2746||3.06|
|16||Medicine Research Experimental||2237||2.49|
|17||Public Environmental Occupational Health||2194||2.44|
|18||Health Policy Services||1805||2.01|
|22||Biochemistry Molecular Biology||1215||1.35|
Table 6: Subject-Wise Distribution of Oncology Research
Ranking of journals based on number of publications
Based on the publications the Journal of Clinical Oncology from by American Society of Clinical Oncology, USA published the highest publications i.e. 5,339 articles and the journal has 44.54 impact factor, followed by Pediatric Blood Cancer journal from Wiley-Liss Inc., the USA is in the second rank by publishing 2,625 (2.92%) articles and the journal has 2.634 impact factor, Psycho-Oncology journal from John Wiley and Sons Ltd, the UK published 2,418 (2.69%) articles and the journal has 3.455, International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics from Elsevier Inc., the USA published 1,862 (2.07%) publications and its impact factor is 7.038, Oncology Nursing Forum from Oncology Nursing Society, the USA published 1,474 (1.64%) articles and the journal has 1.728 impact factor (Table 7).
|Sl. No.||Journals||Publisher||Impact Factor||Records||Percentage|
|1||Journal of Clinical Oncology||American Society of Clinical Oncology, USA||44.54||5339||5.94|
|2||Pediatric Blood Cancer||Wiley-Liss Inc., USA||2.634||2625||2.92|
|3||Psycho Oncology||John Wiley and Sons Ltd, UK||3.455||2418||2.69|
|4||International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics||Elsevier Inc., USA||7.038||1862||2.07|
|5||Oncology Nursing Forum||Oncology Nursing Society, USA||1.728||1474||1.64|
|6||European Respiratory Journal||European Respiratory||12.34||1402||1.56|
|7||Radiotherapy and Oncology||Elsevier Ireland Ltd.,||4.856||1320||1.47|
|8||Supportive Care in Cancer||Springer Verlag, Germany||2.698||1220||1.36|
|9||Gynecologic Oncology||Academic Press Inc., USA||4.54||1192||1.33|
|10||Annals of Oncology||Elsevier Ltd., UK||32.98||1178||1.31|
|11||EJSO||W B Saunders Ltd., UK||3.959||1100||1.22|
|12||International Journal of Gynecological Cancer||B M J Publishing Group, UK||3.437||813||0.90|
|13||Cancer||John Wiley and Sons Ltd, USA||5.791||805||0.90|
|14||Value in Health||Elsevier Ltd., UK||5.725||736||0.82|
|15||European Journal of Cancer||Elsevier Ltd., UK||5.417||722||0.80|
|16||Journal of Neurosurgery||American Association of
Neutological Surgeons, USA
|17||Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing||Oncology Nursing Society, USA||1.224||613||0.68|
|18||Lancet Oncology||Lancet Publishing Group, UK||33.75
|19||Plos One||Public Library of Science, USA||3.24||610||0.68|
|20||Neuro Oncology||Oxford University Press, UK||10.09||567||0.63|
|21||Journal of Oncology Practice||American Society of Clinical Oncology, USA||3.84||553||0.62|
|22||Practical Radiation Oncology||Elsevier BV, Netherlands||3.539||546||0.61|
|23||BMC Cancer||Biomed Central Ltd., UK||4.4||527||0.59|
|24||Blood||American Society of Hematology, USA||22.11||478||0.53|
|25||Oncologist||Alpha Med Press, USA||5.025||454||0.51|
Table 7: Ranking of Journals based on Number of Publications
• There are a total of 89,857 research papers published on oncology during 2011-2020.
• The highest numbers of articles 12,879 (14.33%) were published in the year 2020 and the lowest number of articles 6,039 (6.72%) were published in the year 2011.
• The study revealed that there is an increasing trend in oncology research from 2011 to 2020.
• The majority of the researchers prefer to publish their research papers in journal articles (62.51%).
• Devidas M an Indian researcher is in first place in global ranking by contributing 209 (0.233%) articles in the field of oncology.
• Harvard University, USA is at first place by contributing 5,133 (5.71%) articles.
• The majority of the most contributed institutions/organization is from the USA. Out of the top 25 institutions, 19 institutions are in the USA.
• The USA is found to be the highest country that contributed of 38,799 (43.18%) articles.
• The highest number of research papers i.e. 49275 (54.84%) published under the oncology subject category.
• Journal of Clinical Oncology stands at the first position with 5,339 (5.94%) articles.
The present study attempts to analyze the growth of literature on oncology based on research papers indexed in the Web of Science database. The results of the study indicate that oncology research is increasing trend in every year. India is in 18th rank in the global ranking. But in terms of most prolific authors, the Indian author Devidas M (Meenakshi Devidas) is in first place in global ranking by contributing the highest number of publications. It shows that the Indian authors are interested to research in the oncology field. Hence, the Indian government and concerned departments should support financial assistance and provide infrastructure facilities in this regard. In respect of the h-index, Hunger S P author is stood first by having 42 h-index. When it comes to most contributed institutions, 19 institutions are from the USA, 3 institutions from France, 2 institutions from Canada, and 1 institute from the UK. These four countries occupied the ranking list of most prolific institutions by conducting excessive research in oncology; naturally, the USA is in first place in the global ranking. The highest number of research articles published under oncology and Radiology Nuclear Medicine Medical Imaging subjects. Based on a number of publications, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, USA is secured first place by publishing 53.94% of articles, and also the journal has the highest impact (44.54) factor among the top 25 journals. All the top-ranked journals have the highest impact factor. The findings of the present study will be beneficial for scholars and scientists, and doctors who are engaged in research of various disciplines of oncology as well as policymakers in the field.
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2Department of Library and Information Science, Kuvempu University, Shankaraghatta Shivamoga, Karnataka, India
Received: 15-Oct-2021 Published: 05-Nov-2021
Copyright: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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