Is autoimmunology a discipline of its own? A big data-based bibliometric and scientometric analyses

Abdulla Watad, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Mohammad Adawi, Howard Amital, Shaye Kivity, Naim Mahroum, Miri Blank, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autoimmunology is a super-specialty of immunology specifically dealing with autoimmune disorders. To assess the extant literature concerning autoimmune disorders, bibliometric and scientometric analyses (namely, research topics/keywords co-occurrence, journal co-citation, citations, and scientific output trends–both crude and normalized, authors network, leading authors, countries, and organizations analysis) were carried out using open-source software, namely, VOSviewer and SciCurve. A corpus of 169,519 articles containing the keyword “autoimmunity” was utilized, selecting PubMed/MEDLINE as bibliographic thesaurus. Journals specifically devoted to autoimmune disorders were six and covered approximately 4.15% of the entire scientific production. Compared with all the corpus (from 1946 on), these specialized journals have been established relatively few decades ago. Top countries were the United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, China, France, Canada, Australia, and Israel. Trending topics are represented by the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the ethiopathogenesis of autoimmune disorders, contributions of genetics and of epigenetic modifications, role of vitamins, management during pregnancy and the impact of gender. New subsets of immune cells have been extensively investigated, with a focus on interleukin production and release and on Th17 cells. Autoimmunology is emerging as a new discipline within immunology, with its own bibliometric properties, an identified scientific community and specifically devoted journals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 May 2017


  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Big Data
  • PubMed/MEDLINE
  • autoantibodies
  • autoimmunity
  • autoimmunology
  • bibliometrics
  • scientometrics


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