To investigate trends in long-noncoding (lnc) RNA research systematically, we compared the contribution of publications among different regions, institutions, and authors. Publications on lncRNA were retrieved from Web of Science (WoS) from 1975 to 2017. A total of 3879 papers were identified, and together they were cited 62967 times. The literature on lncRNA had been continuously growing since 2006, and the expansion might continue at a rapid pace until around 2021. China contributed the greatest proportion (63.47%) of lncRNA publications, and the USA ranked second in the number of publications (944 articles), while it had the highest citation frequency (43168 times) and H-index (97). The journal Oncotarget has the greatest number of publications on lncRNA research, with 305 papers. The keywords could be stratified into two clusters: cluster 1 (application) and cluster 2 (characteristics). Correspondingly, the "TNM stage," "epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT)," "cell apoptosis," and "overall survival" are research hotspots since 2015. Thus, research on lncRNA showed a swiftly expanding trend, with China making the largest contribution. The focus on lncRNA is gradually shifting from "characteristics" to "application."