Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Meta-Anal. Aug 28, 2021; 9(4): 389-404
Published online Aug 28, 2021. doi: 10.13105/wjma.v9.i4.389
Trends in iron deficiency anemia research 2001-2020: A bibliometric analysis
John L Frater
John L Frater, Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States
Author contributions: The manuscript was conceived, designed, and written by Frater JL.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The author declares no conflict-of-interest related to this article.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The author has read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: John L Frater, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Box 8118 St Louis, 3rd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63110, United States.
Received: January 31, 2021
Peer-review started: January 31, 2021
First decision: May 6, 2021
Revised: May 17, 2021
Accepted: July 12, 2021
Article in press: July 12, 2021
Published online: August 28, 2021
Research background

Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency and has a worldwide impact. A bibliometric analysis focused on research trends on the topic of iron deficiency anemia has not been performed.

Research motivation

Analyzing the iron deficiency anemia research published between 2001-2020 what collaborative research networks are most active in this field? What subfields are of greatest importance? Are there any emerging research trends in this area?

Research objectives

The objectives of this study were to evaluate the literature published over the last 2 decades, focusing on: (1) The extent of collaborative research networks in this field; (2) The research topics of greatest prominence; and (3) A subset analysis of the most-cited papers published between 2001-2020 and the most-cited papers in 5-year intervals during this period to assess for emerging trends in research in this area.

Research methods

This study was conducted as a bibliometric analysis using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines. A search of the medical literature published between 2001-2020 and related to iron deficiency anemia was performed and data from the search were used to identify publication trends in iron deficiency anemia research. Network visualization by VOSviewer (Leiden University) was performed to identify international collaborative groups and research hotspots in works published during this period.

Research results

Of 4828 publications were included in the study. Network visualization identified 3 international collaborative networks: United States, Canada, and India; Turkey, China, and Japan; and England and other European countries. Five research hotspots were highlighted: (1) Epidemiology of iron deficiency anemia; (2) Biochemistry of iron deficiency anemia; (3) Clinical evaluation of iron deficiency anemia; (4) Causes of iron deficiency anemia; and (5) Bioavailability of iron in the diet. An additional analysis of the top-10 overall cited papers, and the top-10 cited papers for each 5-year increment starting in 2001 showed that the largest number of highly cited papers were from the field of epidemiology, the smallest number from the field of bioavailability of dietary iron.

Research conclusions

Iron deficiency anemia has a high citation rate compared to studies of other topics using similar methodology. Studies from the United States and epidemiologic studies dominate the field.

Research perspectives

Future studies directed from relatively underrepresented areas of the world, and studies directed at less prominently featured areas such as bioavailability of dietary iron may be welcome additions to this already well-developed research area.