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A Bibliometric Analysis of Clinical and Translational Research in Pediatric Gastroenterology From 1970 to 2017

Schwimmer, Melanie H.*,†; Sawh, Mary C.*,‡; Heskett, Karen M.§; Goyal, Nidhi P.*,‡; Newton, Kimberly P.*,‡; Schwimmer, Jeffrey B.*,‡

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: November 2018 - Volume 67 - Issue 5 - p 564–569
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002056
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objectives: Pediatric gastroenterology is a clinical and research discipline principally developed over the past 50 years. Bibliometric methods provide quantitative analysis and identify research trends. Study aims were to characterize the growth and trends in pediatric gastroenterology clinical and translational research using citation analysis.

Methods: Using citations analysis software, a search strategy specific for pediatric gastroenterology was implemented for the years 1970 to 2017. The 50 most-cited research articles per decade were identified. These 250 articles were coded for topic and study attribute. Analysis included authors, affiliations, journals, countries, and funding sources.

Results: Overall average annual growth rate for pediatric gastroenterology publications was significantly higher than that for general pediatrics (51.7% vs 6.2%; P < 0.05). Among the top 250 cited articles, the distribution of study focus was epidemiology (43%), pathophysiology (18%), treatment (16%), diagnosis (8%), prevention (8%), and comorbidities of gastrointestinal diseases (7%).

There were 38 different topics represented and there was a notable shift in topic focus over time. Cholestasis, biliary atresia, and total parenteral nutrition were common topics from 1970 to 1989 and obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and eosinophilic esophagitis were common topics after 1990. Notably, 2.3% of the authors accounted for 30% of the top 250 articles.

Conclusions: Pediatric gastroenterology research has undergone rapid growth yielding advancements in the management of gastrointestinal conditions in children. The emergence of new diseases in need of better diagnostics and therapeutics led to a temporal shift in research focus. Further advancements will require multidisciplinary collaborations and continued funding for pediatric gastroenterology research.

*Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, University of California San Diego School of Medicine

The Bishop's School, La Jolla

Department of Gastroenterology, Rady Children's Hospital

§The Library, University of California, San Diego, CA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, MD, Fatty Liver Clinic, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego, 3020 Children's Way, MC 5030 San Diego, CA 92123 (e-mail:

Received 29 November, 2017

Accepted 11 May, 2018

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

The project was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants UL1TR000100 and UL1TR001442). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,