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Author Notes:

Correspondence to Dr Ken Takahashi; ken.takahashi@sydney.edu.au

Contributors: R-TL contributed to the study design, literature reviews, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

KT contributed to the study design, data classification, data interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

MJS contributed to data classification and writing of the manuscript.

L-CC contributed to statistical analysis, data interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

SF, JT, RL and TD contributed to the data interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

We thank the editors at English Manager Science Editing for their careful copyediting and Victoria Keena at the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute for her kind clerical assistance.

Competing interests: RL testifies in asbestos litigation.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (AA17/22) and the China Medical University (CMU106-N-27).


  • asbestos
  • public health
  • research governance
  • asbestos-related diseases

Bibliometric analysis of gaps in research on asbestos-related diseases: declining emphasis on public health over 26 years


Journal Title:

BMJ Open


Volume 8, Number 7


, Pages e022806-e022806

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objectives The global burden of asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) is significant, and most of the world’s population live in countries where asbestos use continues. We examined the gaps between ARD research and suggestions of WHO and the International Labour Organization on prevention. Methods From the Web of Science, we collected data on all articles published during 1991–2016 and identified a subset of ARD-related articles. We classified articles into three research areas—laboratory, clinical and public health—and examined their time trends. For all and the top 11 countries publishing ARD-related articles, we calculated the proportions of all ARD-related articles that were in each of the three areas, the average rates of ARD-related articles over all articles, and the average annual per cent changes of rates. Results ARD-related articles (n=14 284) accounted for 1.3‰ of all articles in 1991, but this had declined to 0.8‰ by 2016. Among the three research areas, the clinical area accounted for the largest proportion (65.0%), followed by laboratory (26.5%) and public health (24.9%). The public health area declined faster than the other areas, at −5.7% per year. Discrepancies were also observed among the top 11 countries regarding emphasis on public health research, with Finland and Italy having higher, and China and the Netherlands lower, emphases. Conclusions There is declining emphasis on the public health area in the ARD-related literature. Under the ongoing global situation of ARD, primary prevention will remain key for some time, warranting efforts to rectify the current trend in ARD-related research.

Copyright information:

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

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