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IACC/OARC Autism Spectrum Disorder Publications Analysis: The Global Landscape of Autism Research, July 2012

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Appendix I: Methodology For Identifying ASD-Related Research Publications And Supplemental Primary Research Publication Counts

An automated keyword search was used to identify publications that contained the terms "autism," "autistic," "Asperger," or "pervasive developmental disorder" in the journal title, article title, article abstract or article keywords. Publications tagged with the MEDLINE MeSH terms "Asperger syndrome," "autistic disorder," or "child development disorders, pervasive" were also collected and classified as ASD-related. MeSH terms are only present for articles with records in MEDLINE.

The Thomson Reuters ScienceWire Publication Catalog, a central database that includes publication records for both the MEDLINE section of PubMed and the Thomson Reuters Web of Science® (WoS) was used for this keyword search. For instances in which publication records were identified in both the MEDLINE and WoS databases, a thorough de-duplication algorithm was applied to merge the two records into a single publication record. In cases for which the same record was identified in both databases and resolved to a single publication, WoS data were preferentially presented above MEDLINE data, with missing data points populated using MEDLINE, as available. Several data points are only available from WoS; therefore preferential usage of WoS data presents a more consistent set of data points for analysis. These data points include:

  1. Citation Counts
  2. Journal Subject Categories
  3. Keywords

In the rare instance that the data fields in the two databases were sufficiently different, the same publication may be present multiple times. For example, if a publication has the same title and journal, but different publication dates or authors listed in the two databases, these are reported as two separate publications. It is estimated that this may happen in approximately 1% or fewer of the publications.

MEDLINE and WoS have different indicators for document type. Whereas WoS assigns a single article type to a publication, MEDLINE may assign multiple article types. Publications were classified as primary research, secondary research or meeting abstract based on the general guidelines listed below.

  1. Publication records classified as "meeting abstract" in the WoS were excluded from this analysis because there was usually insufficient text to indicate a specific category.
  2. Secondary research articles included:
    1. WoS Editorials
    2. Articles with the classifications outlined in Table A-4 and all articles from one of 81 specified journals in the WoS that are known to publish primarily secondary research articles (Table A-5).
  3. All other articles were considered primary research.

Regardless of whether analyses included the combined categories of primary and secondary research publications or were restricted to primary research only, very similar trends and distributions of publication output across the Critical Question areas were observed. The following figures include only primary research publications and are companions to Figures 8-11 in the body of the report, which demonstrate combined primary and secondary research publication output. For example, Figure A-27 draws from the same data set as Figure 8; however, Figure A-27 plots primary research publication counts by Critical Question area, whereas Figure 8 plots the combined counts of primary and secondary research publications.

Growth in ASD Primary Research Publications
by Critical Question Area, 1981 to 2010

Figure A-27. Growth in ASD Primary Research Publications by Critical Question Area, 1981 to 2010. The growth trends in primary research publication output by Critical Question areas of autism research over the past 30 years illustrate very similar patterns as Figure 8, which plots the combined output of primary and secondary research publications by Critical Question area. Each data point represents a five-year average of the number of annual autism publications.
Figure A-27 full description

Figure A-27. Growth in ASD Primary Research Publications by Critical Question Area, 1981 to 2010. The growth trends in primary research publication output by Critical Question areas of autism research over the past 30 years illustrate very similar patterns as Figure 8, which plots the combined output of primary and secondary research publications by Critical Question area. Each data point represents a five-year average of the number of annual autism publications.

Number and Fold Growth of ASD Primary Research
Publications from 2000 to 2010

Figure A-28. Number and Fold Growth of ASD Primary Research Publications from 2000 to 2010. This figure illustrates number (top left) and fold growth (bottom right) of primary research publications within the Critical Question areas since 2000. Recent primary research publication growth trends are very similar to growth of combined primary and secondary research trends illustrated in Figure 9. Both show that while Biology maintains the largest proportion of publications, other areas are growing at least as quickly, including Infrastructure and Surveillance, Services, and Lifespan Issues.
Figure A-28 full description

Figure A-28. Number and Fold Growth of ASD Primary Research Publications from 2000 to 2010. This figure illustrates number (top left) and fold growth (bottom right) of primary research publications within the Critical Question areas since 2000. Recent primary research publication growth trends are very similar to growth of combined primary and secondary research trends illustrated in Figure 9. Both show that while Biology maintains the largest proportion of publications, other areas are growing at least as quickly, including Infrastructure and Surveillance, Services, and Lifespan Issues.

Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories
of Autism Risk Factor Research

Figure A-29. Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories of Autism Risk Factor Research. The pie graph (top) illustrates relative proportions of primary research articles published in 2010 in three subcategories of ASD Risk Factor research and the line graph (bottom) shows the increase in number of publications in each subcategory over time from 1980 to 2010. Similar to the distribution of both primary and secondary research publications illustrated in Figure 10, Genetic Risk Factors research had the greatest number and proportion of publications, followed by Environmental Risk Factors and then Epigenetics.
Figure A-29 full description

Figure A-29. Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories of Autism Risk Factor Research. The pie graph (top) illustrates relative proportions of primary research articles published in 2010 in three subcategories of ASD Risk Factor research and the line graph (bottom) shows the increase in number of publications in each subcategory over time from 1980 to 2010. Similar to the distribution of both primary and secondary research publications illustrated in Figure 10, Genetic Risk Factors research had the greatest number and proportion of publications, followed by Environmental Risk Factors and then Epigenetics.

Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories
of Autism Treatments and Interventions Research

Figure A-30. Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories of Autism Treatments and Interventions Research. The pie graph (top) illustrates relative proportions of primary research articles published in 2010 on seven subcategories of ASD Treatments and Interventions research and the line graph (bottom) shows the change in number of publications in each subcategory over time, from 1980 to 2010. Similar to the combined distribution of primary and secondary Treatments and Interventions research publications illustrated in Figure 11, the most prolific areas of primary research include Behavioral, Technology-Based Interventions and Supports, Medical/Pharmacological, and Educational interventions.
Figure A-30 full description

Figure A-30. Primary Research Publication Output and Trends in Subcategories of Autism Treatments and Interventions Research. The pie graph (top) illustrates relative proportions of primary research articles published in 2010 on seven subcategories of ASD Treatments and Interventions research and the line graph (bottom) shows the change in number of publications in each subcategory over time, from 1980 to 2010. Similar to the combined distribution of primary and secondary Treatments and Interventions research publications illustrated in Figure 11, the most prolific areas of primary research include Behavioral, Technology-Based Interventions and Supports, Medical/Pharmacological, and Educational interventions.

Table A-4. Web of Science® and MEDLINE Article Types Classified as Secondary Articles

  • Web of Science®
  • Review
  • Book Review
  • Database Review
  • Hardware Review
  • Software Review
  • Art Exhibit Review
  • Film Review
  • Music Score Review
  • Record Review
  • Music Performance Review
  • Theater Review
  • TV Review, Radio Review, Video
  • Dance Performance Review
  • MEDLINE
  • Addresses
  • Bibliography
  • Clinical Conference
  • Comment
  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Consensus Development Conference, NIH
  • Dictionary
  • Directory
  • Duplicate Publication
  • Editorial
  • Government Publications
  • Guideline
  • Interactive Tutorial
  • Interview
  • Introductory Journal Article
  • Lectures
  • Legal Cases
  • Legislation
  • Letter
  • News
  • Newspaper Article
  • Overall
  • Patient Education Handout
  • Periodical Index
  • Practice Guideline
  • Published Erratum
  • Retracted Publication
  • Retraction of Publication
  • Review
  • Scientific Integrity Review
  • Technical Report
  • Congresses
  • Historical Article

Table A-5. Journals in which All Publications Were Classified as Secondary Research

  • American Family Physician
  • American Psychologist
  • Behavioral Healthcare
  • Biology & Philosophy
  • BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.)
  • British Journal Of Hospital Medicine
  • Cornell Law Review
  • Cultural Studies
  • Current Opinion in Psychiatry
  • Current Opinion in Neurology
  • Current Treatment Options In Neurology
  • Dentistry Today
  • Educational Leadership
  • Exceptionality
  • Expert Review Of Clinical Immunology
  • F1000 Biology Reports
  • Forum Der Psychoanalyse
  • Healthcare Quarterly (Toronto, Ont.)
  • Human Studies
  • La Revue Du Praticien
  • LÄKartidningen
  • LaKartidningen
  • Medical Hypotheses
  • Mens Sana Monographs
  • Mosaic-A Journal For The Interdisciplinary Study Of Literature
  • Neuroforum
  • Phenomenology And The Cognitive Sciences
  • Philosophical Explorations
  • Philosophical Quarterly
  • PSN-Psychiatrie Sciences Humaines Neurosciences
  • Psyche-Zeitschrift Fur Psychoanalyse Und Ihre Anwendungen
  • Psychological Bulletin
  • Rhetoric Society Quarterly
  • Scientific American
  • State Legislatures
  • Studia Phaenomenologica
  • The Harvard Mental Health Letter / From Harvard Medical School
  • The Journal Of Medical Humanities
  • The Pennsylvania Nurse
  • The Practitioner
  • Trends In Neurosciences
  • University Of Toronto Quarterly
  • Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
  • Forbes
  • Canadian Geographer-Geographe Canadien
  • Revue Médicale Suisse
  • School Nurse News
  • Review Of Law And Social Change. New York University
  • The American Psychologist
  • Behavioral And Brain Sciences
  • 11th International Conference On Control, Automation, Robotics And Vision (Icarcv 2010)
  • 17th International Conference On Biomagnetism Advances In Biomagnetism - Biomag2010
  • 2010 ACM Conference On Computer Supported Cooperative Work
  • 2010 Annual International Conference Of The IEEE Engineering In Medicine And Biology Society (EMBC)
  • 2010 IEEE International Conference On Acoustics, Speech, And Signal Processing
  • 2010 IEEE International Conference On Image Processing
  • 2010 IEEE International Conference On Image Processing
  • 2010 IEEE International Conference On Robotics And Automation (ICRA)
  • 2010 International Joint Conference On Neural Networks IJCNN 2010
  • Advances In Web-Based Learning-ICWL 2010
  • ASSETS 2010: Proceedings Of The 12th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference On Computers And Accessibility
  • CHI2010: Proceedings Of The 28th Annual CHI Conference On Human Factors In Computing Systems, Vols 1-4
  • Computer Safety, Reliability, And Security
  • Computers Helping People With Special Needs, Proceedings, Pt 2
  • Conference On Environmental Pollution And Public Health, Vol 1-2
  • Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2010
  • Evolution Of Language, Proceedings
  • Future Generation Information Technology
  • IEEE Virtual Reality 2010, Proceedings
  • International Conference On Learner Diversity 2010
  • Medical Image Computing And Computer-Assisted Intervention - MICCAI 2010, Pt I
  • Photonic Therapeutics And Diagnostics VI
  • Proceedings Of 2010 International Conference On Behavioral, Cognitive And Psychological Sciences
  • Selected Topics In Applied Computer Science
  • Ubicomp 2010: Proceedings Of The 2010 ACM Conference On Ubiquitous Computing
  • WCPCG 2010
  • XIV European Conference On Developmental Psychology (ECDP)
  • ICIEA 2010: Proceedings Of The 5th IEEE Conference On Industrial Electronics And Applications, Vol 4
  • Security-Enriched Urban Computing And Smart Grid
  • Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation

Copyright Information
All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced, copied, or used in presentations and publications. A suggested citation follows.

Suggested Citation
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), National Institute of Mental Health and Thomson Reuters, Inc. on behalf of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). IACC/OARC Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Publications Analysis Report: The Global Landscape of Autism Research. July 2012. Retrieved from the Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee website: http://iacc.hhs.gov/publications-analysis/july2012/index.shtml


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