Global Research Trend on Allergic Skin Disorders: A Bibliometric Analysis from 2001 to 2020 : Indian Dermatology Online Journal

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Original Article

Global Research Trend on Allergic Skin Disorders: A Bibliometric Analysis from 2001 to 2020

Podder, Indrashis; Mondal, Himel1,; Gayen, Rintu K.2

Author Information
Indian Dermatology Online Journal 14(3):p 342-346, May–Jun 2023. | DOI: 10.4103/idoj.idoj_481_22
  • Open



The term “allergy” refers to an immunologically mediated exaggerated hypersensitivity reaction to usually harmless environmental antigens, called “allergens”.[1] This phenomenon occurs in genetically susceptible individuals as a result of complex gene–environment interactions, at the interface of body and environment. They are clinically classified as respiratory or cutaneous, with frequent overlapping at later stages. The term “atopy” refers to a hereditary predisposition to produce IgE antibodies. Atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma are examples of allergic diseases brought on by an inherited propensity to develop IgE antibodies against common environmental allergens. However, other allergic diseases use IgE-independent pathways, such as contact dermatitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Thus, allergic diseases can be classified into two categories based on the underlying immunology—”atopic” and “non-atopic”.[1]

Globally, researchers have been reporting a dramatic increase in the occurrence of allergic disorders over the past two to three decades, especially in low- and middle-income countries.[2] Although more evident in the case of respiratory allergies such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, cutaneous allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis, food allergy, drug allergy, contact dermatitis, and urticaria are also showing a steep rise.[2] Worldwide lifestyle modifications due to modernization may be regarded as the most important contributory factor, and such changes include increased rates of cesarean delivery, reduced breastfeeding, indiscriminate and early use of antibiotics, a Westernized diet and the resultant obesity, and changes in indoor and outdoor lifestyle and activity patterns.[3] All these lifestyle changes affect our exposure to a diverse microbial environment, subsequently resulting in loss of microbial diversity or dysbiosis. Microbial alteration (both gut and skin) possibly increases the risk of allergies as it hinders the proper development and education of the immune system.[3,4]

Bibliometric studies provide a statistical analysis of scientific literature and generate an idea about the current state of research on any topic. As we are witnessing a rapid rise in allergy cases worldwide, it is crucial to know whether commensurate research work is being conducted on this important topic of global health, especially cutaneous allergies. Thus, the present study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the status of global research concerning skin allergy focusing on scientific production and exchanges. We presume that the information in this article would help to identify knowledge gaps in this area and facilitate planning and policy-making.

Materials and Methods


This study involves audit of data from Web of Science, an online bibliographic database. As there was no involvement of human or animal in the study, clearance from the Ethics Committee is not required as per current local guidelines.

Search method and keywords

We considered Web of Science (WOS) as our primary database as it includes both Science Citation index and Social Sciences Citation index. We searched the database on August 23, 2021. The keywords were selected according to the Medical Subject Heading. The date range was customized from 2001 to 2020. The following keyword terms were searched: “TS = (Atopic dermatitis) OR TS = (Contact dermatitis) OR TS = (skin allergy) OR TS = (Urticaria) OR TS = (Food Allergy) OR TS = (Drug allergy)”. All types of documents in English were searched. We did not use any filter to screen the article for selection. Hence, all publications, irrespective of the status of the patch test, were included. We have selected the following keywords—”urticaria,” “contact dermatitis,” and “atopic dermatitis” as they are the most commonly encountered allergic skin disorders.[5,6] The “skin allergy,” “food allergy,” and “drug allergy” are commonly used non-specific terminologies.

Calculation and statistical analysis

We collected the data of top 20 of any category (e.g., top 20 countries). The chronology is based on the number and there was no qualitative check for designating the “top”. We included only top 20 as further addition would increase the length beyond interest of the readers. The raw data were collected and stored in a spreadsheet for further analysis. The data were expressed as numbers and percentage. For calculating the percentage, we considered total of top 20 and total publications as denominator. The distribution of number in those top 20 data was compared by Chi-square test. Pearson’s correlation was used to find correlation between two variables. Kruskal–Wallis test was used to compare continuous variables in more than two groups. All the statistical tests were carried out in Microsoft Excel 2010 (Microsoft Corporation, USA) and GraphPad Prism 6.01 (GraphPad Software, California, USA). For statistical significance, we fixed the P value to be < 0.05.


From 2001 to 2020, a total of 76,764 articles were published globally concerning allergic skin disorders. Year-wise total number of publications is shown in Figure 1. Mean total publication was 3838.2 ± 1361.59 (range 2051–6223). Among the total publications, original articles were 2415.5 ± 721.73 (range 1414–3552), review articles were 507.15 ± 289.52 (range 163–1168), and other articles were 1045.6 ± 373.93 (range 499–1669) (Kruskal–Wallis test P < 0.0001).

Figure 1:
Year-wise global publications of allergy research from 2001 to 2020

Year-wise publications in 100% stacked bar chart is shown in Figure 2. The relative percentage of original article (e.g., in 2001, original 70.18%, review 7.34%, and other 22.48% versus in 2020, original 55.59%, review 18.28%, and other 26.12%, Chi-square P < 0.0001) has been reduced, and there was rise in review and other articles.

Figure 2:
Relative percentage of original, review, and other global publications of allergy research from 2001 to 2020

Country-wise distribution of publications is shown in Figure 3. The major share of the publication is from USA (24.14% among the top 20 countries and 26.12% of total publications). India contributes about 1.83% among the top 20 contributing countries and 1.98% of total publications (Chi-square P < 0.0001).

Figure 3:
Country-wise number of publications of allergy research from 2001 to 2020

Table 1 shows the top 20 journals publishing allergy research. The journal Allergy, with an impact factor (IF) of 13.146, tops the list and has 15.51% publications in top 20 journals and 6.20% of all the publications. Along with the IF, we are providing the website and access option of those journals for ease of access by the readers. Among the top 20 journals, three are of full open-access policy, and others are having hybrid model (i.e., having a combination of open-access and paywalled articles).

Table 1:
Top 20 journals publishing skin allergy research.

Table 2 shows the top 20 institutions publishing allergy research. With a hefty number of publications (1991), the University of California System contributes 8.88% in top 20 and 2.59% in total publications. We are providing the websites of the universities for ease of access.

Table 2:
Top 20 institutions in skin allergy research publication.


There was a gradual increase in the number of articles, pertaining to allergic skin disorders, being published over the last 20 years. There was a slight reduction in the number of articles in 2012 and 2013, but after that, a consistent rise in research output has been noted. We found a total of 76,764 publications concerning allergic skin disorders over 20 years, much lower compared to bronchial asthma (77,118 publications in 10 years),[7] and allergic rhinitis (average 357 original articles per year compared to 121 original articles on allergic skin disorders per year).[8] Thus, the total research output is low for allergic skin disorders related to respiratory allergies; however, our analysis shows a gradual increase in skin allergy research over the last two decades, which was sustained. Notably, 8327 articles were found for “food allergy” (2001–2014),[9] 37,283 articles for “contact dermatitis” (1988–2017),[10] and 180 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for urticaria (2009–2019);[11] we included all these conditions under the umbrella term “skin allergy”. The underlying reason for the rise in publication may be multifactorial. There may be gradual rise of research, more number of publications, higher availability of digital journals, or even rise in number of cases that encouraged the researchers to conduct more researches. However, finding the exact reason was beyond the scope of the study.

The USA made the maximum contribution to “skin allergy” research, followed by Germany, Japan, England, and Italy accounting for 26.12%, 9.6%, 8.2%, 8.1%, and 7.8% of the total published articles, respectively. We observed a similar pattern for the top 5 contributing countries in other bibliometric studies—food allergy (USA > Germany > Italy > France > UK) and contact dermatitis (USA > Germany > UK > Japan > France).[9,10]

Interestingly, all the countries in the list are developed countries, according to the United Nations (UN) ranking. The possible reasons may be the increased prevalence of allergic diseases in Western countries and the availability of better screening and research facilities. Thus, more sensitization is needed regarding allergic disorders, especially skin allergies, in developing countries along with better research infrastructure. However, in the case of other disorders such as Behcet disease (Turkey) and leishmaniasis (Brazil),[12,13] developing countries are at the forefront as these places record the maximum prevalence of these conditions.


We obtained all data from a single source, “Web of Science”, as it is widely regarded as the most reliable database in academic literature providing a holistic analysis.[14]


Our bibliometric analysis reveals that research and publications on allergic skin disorders have been steadily increasing over the years, with maximum emphasis on their pathomechanisms and primary prevention. However, maximum research is contributed by developed countries accounting for >50% of the available literature; thus, researchers from developing and least developed countries should be supported to generate more research output. This would create diverse and enriched literary collection for further progress of the skin allergy-related research.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


The second author would like to thank Sarika Mondal and Ahana Aarshi for their help during preparation of this manuscript.


1. Kay AB. Allergy and allergic diseases. First of two parts. N Engl J Med 2001;344:30–7.
2. Pawankar R. Allergic diseases and asthma:A global public health concern and a call to action. World Allergy Organ J 2014;7:12.
3. Renz H, Skevaki C. Early life microbial exposures and allergy risks:Opportunities for prevention. Nat Rev Immunol 2021;21:177–91.
4. Mezouar S, Chantran Y, Michel J, Fabre A, Dubus JC, Leone M, et al. Microbiome and the immune system:From a healthy steady-state to allergy associated disruption. Human Microbiome Journal 2018;10:11–20.
5. Incorvaia C, Frati F, Verna N, D'Alò S, Motolese A, Pucci S. Allergy and the skin. Clin Exp Immunol 2008;153 Suppl 1 27–9.
6. Fonacier LS, Dreskin SC, Leung DYM. Allergic skin diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;125 2 Suppl 2 S138–49.
7. Gupta BM, Kaur J, Baidwan K, Gupta R. Global asthma research with special reference to India:A scientometric assessment of publication output during 2007-16. J Pulmon Respir Sci 2018;3:1–1.
8. Wu Q, Zheng R, Wang W, Qiu H, Huang X, Yang Q. The top 100 most influential articles in allergic rhinitis from 1970 to 2018:A bibliometric analysis. J Int Med Res 2019;47:6315–36.
9. Vanga SK, Singh A, Vagadia BH, Raghavan V. Global food allergy research trend:A bibliometric analysis Scientometrics 2015;105:203–13.
10. Senel E. The last three decades of contact dermatitis:A bibliometric analysis of global publications on contact dermatitis. Dermatol Nurs 2020;12:223–31.
11. Patil AD. Randomized clinical trials related to urticaria:Bibliometric analysis from 2009 to 2019. Natl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol 2020;10:116–21.
12. Şenel E, Demir E, Alkan RM. Bibliometric analysis on global Behçet disease publications during 1980-2014:Is there a Silk Road in the literature?. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2017;31:518–22.
13. Soosaraei M, Khasseh AA, Fakhar M, Hezarjaribi HZ. A decade bibliometric analysis of global research on leishmaniasis in Web of Science database. Ann Med Surg (Lond) 2018;26:30–7.
14. Kendall S. Lib Guides:PubMed, Web of Science, or Google Scholar?A behind-the-scenes guide for life scientists. Which one is best:PubMed, Web of Science, or Google Scholar? Available from: Last accessed on 2022 Aug 25.

Allergic skin disorders; bibliometry; global; research

Copyright: © 2023 Indian Dermatology Online Journal