, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 351–368 | Cite as

Growth of the hepatitis literature over the period 1976–2015: What can the relative priority index teach us?

  • S. L. Sangam
  • Uma B. Arali
  • C. G. Patil
  • Ronald Rousseau


This study has a double purpose: a fact-finding one and a methodological one. The fact-finding part consists of two elements. First we study the growth of the hepatitis literature in the World and in particular in India over the latest 30 years (1986–2015). Second we determine the priority given to hepatitis studies in a number of leading countries, distributed over five continents. This part compares the periods (1976–1995) and (1996–2015). The methodological part studies the stability of the relative priority or activity index by calculating it with respect to different databases. Data are collected from PubMed, the Web of Science (WoS) and the WoS, restricted to the area Life Sciences Biomedicine, denoted as WoS (LS). Data collection in PubMed is more difficult than in the WoS, leading to possibly approximate results. Attention spent to publishing hepatitis research is measured with the Relative Priority Index (RPI). Initially the rise in the number of Indian publications is slow. Yet, the number of publications on hepatitis has substantially increased over time so that since 2008 India’s cumulative number of publications has more than doubled. As to the methodological problem we found that different databases lead to different results, showing that results based on the RPI must be interpreted with care. We, moreover, draw the reader’s attention to hepatitis itself, including information about it and its deadly consequences.


Hepatitis India Bibliometrics Growth rate Relative priority index 



The authors thank Raf Guns (Univ. Antwerp) for useful remarks leading to a better manuscript. We also thank the reviewers for useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Library and Information ScienceKarnatak UniversityDharwadIndia
  2. 2.Government First Grade CollegeHaliyalIndia
  3. 3.Department of BotanyKarnatak Science CollegeDharwadIndia
  4. 4.Facultair Onderzoekscentrum ECOOMKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium
  5. 5.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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