This study aimed to describe current trends and areas of future research using a bibliometric evaluation of the publication output associated with research on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during the 16-year period of 1991–2006.
Data encompassing the period from 1991 to 2006 were extracted from the Science Citation Index online version. We analyzed selected documents with “obstructive sleep apnea”, “obstructive apnea”, or “OSA” as a part of the title, abstract, or key words and reported the following parameters: trends of publication output, journal pattern, country of publication, authorship, author-generated key words, and KeyWords Plus®.
The annual number of articles on OSA grew at a faster rate than did the number of general scientific publications, from approximately 200 in 1991 to 650 in 2006. The main subject categories in which research on OSA was conducted were the respiratory system and clinical neurology, each of which accounted for > 10% of total articles. Most of the research was conducted in the major industrial countries, with most international collaborations involving the United States and Canada. Certain terms were identified by KeyWords Plus®but not by author-generated key words, and some terms increased in frequency of use over time.
This study provides a bibliometric analysis showing that the annual number of publications related to OSA has been increasing at a much faster rate than the overall scientific literature during the past 16 years in a growing number of specialized journals. Analysis of key words (KeyWords Plus®) suggests research trends and areas for future research.