Expertise in the treatment of wounded and mentally damaged military personnel can be transferred to the clinical care of civilian patients by military clinicians though academic publications and working alongside civilian colleagues. Citations to papers written by military authors by civilian researchers can show the transfer of this military knowledge into civilian practice. We examined citations to UK and US academic papers on military physical and mental injury from 2001 to 2018 in the Web of Science, and determined the numbers from civilian and military sources in the authors' own country, and for the US papers, also the Veterans Administration. United States civilian researchers contributed to 52% of the US citations in 2006, rising to 65% in 2018. The numbers of US citing papers from the individual states correlated fairly well with their population sizes. For the UK, civilian citations to its papers also increased with time, but were heavily concentrated in London and Birmingham. This study shows that it is possible to track the diffusion of knowledge in the experience of treating combat casualties from military authors to subsequent military and civilian publications through analysis of the citation history of the original papers.
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GL, RS and MB are funded by UK Research and Innovation GCRF Research For Health In Conflict (R4HC-MENA); developing capability, partnerships and research in the Middle and Near East (MENA) ES/P010962/1
Conflict of interest
MB retired from the appointment of Surgeon-General of the UK Armed Forces in April 2019.
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Lewison, G., Roe, P., Sullivan, R. et al. The spin-off to civilian medical practice in the UK and USA from medical research developed during conflict. Scientometrics 126, 1829–1839 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03738-5