Bibliometric analysis of research on the trends in autophagy

PeerJ. 2019 Jun 5:7:e7103. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7103. eCollection 2019.


Background: Autophagy is an important mechanism to maintain homeostasis in cells. It has been linked with ageing and many currently incurable diseases, including heart disease, cancer, myopathies, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Autophagy research is very important for identifying better treatments. This study aimed to explore the hotspots of autophagy research published from different countries, organizations, and authors.

Methods: Between 1962 and 2018, articles published about autophagy were identified in the Web of Science database. The total and annual number of articles, citations, impact factor, Hirsch (H)-index, number of article citations, productive authors, and involved journals were collected for quantitative and qualitative comparisons.

Results: From 1962 to 2018, 18,811 autophagy-related articles written in English were published. Most were from China (6,731). The United States dominated in citation frequency (391,030) and h-index (264). Among related journals, Autophagy published the most articles (1,388), followed by Plos One (585) and Oncotarget (392). Daniel Klionsky was the most productive author, with 171 publications. The article "LC3, a mammalian homologue of yeast Apg8p, is localized in autophagosome membranes after processing" was cited most frequently. The top-ranked keyword was "degradation" of macroautophagy.

Conclusions: Publication of articles about autophagy has increased notably from 1962 to 2018, and has increased annually. The general quality of publications from China is still in need of improvement. Autophagy research has shifted gradually from basic studies to clinical studies in recent years.

Keywords: Autophagy; Bibliometric; Citation; H-index; VOS viewer.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81672126). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.