Evaluating the outcomes of medical informatics development as a discipline in China: A publication perspective.

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Evaluating the outcomes of medical informatics development as a discipline in China: A publication perspective.

Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2018 Oct;164:75-85

Authors: Deng H, Wang J, Liu X, Liu B, Lei J

BACKGROUND: As the world’s second largest economy, China makes unique contributions to the world in many fields, including sociology, the economy, technology and defense. Medical informatics (MI) is an important cross-disciplinary field that, along with its applications, has received massive funding from the Chinese government. However, the question of how to evaluate China’s input and output in MI remains important and complex issue of great significance for China and the rest of the world.
OBJECTIVE: This paper analyzed, for the first time, the quality and quantity of research by Chinese academics in MI based on their articles published in international specialty journals in recent years and examined MI research hotspots in China. Our purpose is to summarize the experiences and lessons learned by China and the rest of the world as they develop MI.
METHOD: We targeted 18 MI journals listed in the JCR 2016 report and searched for papers published by Chinese academics in these 18 journals in the WOS and PUBMED databases and on journal sites. We also performed data cleansing and categorized the obtained information. We used Excel, SPSS, Ucinet and NetDraw to conduct quantitative analyses on the research papers.
RESULTS: A total of 1340 articles satisfied the inclusion criteria of this study. We observed a significant upward trend in the number of articles published over time, particularly after 2011. Lei Jianbo, Huang Zhengxing and Li Jin-song are active Chinese authors in the MI discipline who have written many high-quality publications. Meanwhile, universities remain the primary breeding grounds for scientific research: 93.36% of the articles came from universities. Zhejiang University published the most first-author articles, whereas Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tsinghua University produced 17.76% of the total articles. According to the lists of authors, 24% of the papers were co-authored with foreign researchers. This rate of cooperation is increasing each year, from 5.88% to the current rate of 39.04%. An analysis of keywords showed that “EMR”, “SVM”, “Authentication”, “Telecare medical information system”, “EEG”, “ECG” and “RFID” were the most frequently searched terms in popular technological fields, including artificial intelligence and image processing. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of high-frequency keywords and a broadening range of research fields, which has led to the emergence of several research hotspots, including MI systems, mobile health care, telecare, data mining and machine learning.
CONCLUSIONS: Through the quantitative analysis of publications, we discovered the emergence of three stages – infancy, slow growth and rapid growth – in China’s MI research in recent years as academics make achievements in their research works. The global influence of Chinese academics is growing, and they are making increasingly conscious efforts to enter into research collaborations with foreign researchers. The findings of Chinese academics’ publications are gaining international recognition.

PMID: 30195433 [PubMed – in process]

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