Analyzing the literature on drugs with Web of Science and HistCite: Institutional affiliations of the most prolific authors publishing on Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

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Baykoucheva, Svetla
4th International Conference on Webometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics (WIS). July 28 - August 1, 2008, Berlin, Germany.
The current aggressive tactics of pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs directly to consumers makes it important to researchers, physicians, and the general public to know what the affiliations and co‐authorships of those publishing on these drugs are. The most widely used database for retrieving biomedical literature is MEDLINE/PubMED, because it is a comprehensive and free resource. New refining and analytical tools available from the Web of Science (WoS), though, allow performing a much more in‐depth analysis of the literature in a particular field. WoS has recently become even more attractive to researchers with the addition of HistCite, a program that allows identifying the key literature and reconstructing the history and development of a particular research field. This study examines the institutional affiliations and co‐authorships of the most prolific authors who have published articles on the cholesterol‐lowering drug Atorvastatin (Lipitor). The literature on the latter was chosen because this drug has been on the market for a long time and it is currently the most prescribed drug in the world. Since WoS is usually not the preferred database for retrieving biomedical literature, the number of documents published on Atorvastatin that were retrieved from the WoS was compared to the number of documents retrieved through MEDLINE. The HistCite software allows performing in‐depth analysis of the scientific literature, but it can be used only with the WoS. In order to justify the use of WoS in this study (MEDLINE is considered the standard database for retrieving biomedical literature), the performance of WoS was compared to the performance of MEDLINE. Identical searches were performed in both WoS and MEDLINE and the results were limited to documents published on atorvastatin from 1994 to 2007. WoS retrieved more documents than MEDLINE (4,173 and 2910, respectively), for the period under study, and performed equally well or even better with respect to the number of documents retrieved for each year.