Visualising the past to plan the future: a network analysis of the largest European dermatology conference

Eur J Dermatol. 2021 Apr 1;31(2):161-169. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2021.4010.


Background: The annual conference of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology is one the largest dermatology conferences worldwide.

Objectives: Network analysis can be used for in-depth insight into trending topics and underlying trends at the congress.

Materials & methods: Network analysis was employed to assess the entirety of the submitted abstracts to the congress in 2019. The data were processed, analysed, and visualised using easy-to-understand network graphs. Topics were then compared to their respective global burden (Disease Adjusted Life Years [DALYs]) and the number of respective publications on PubMed in the year 2018.

Results: Overall, 1,280 lecture titles and 1,941 poster titles were included in the final analysis. The most frequently used terms were "patients" (n = 473), "treatment" (n = 301), and "psoriasis" (n = 335). Relative to DALYs, "psoriasis" (+21.9%) among others, was rather over-represented, while "fungal skin diseases" (-7.6%) and "urticaria" (-6.4%) were under-represented. Compared to the relative number of PubMed publications in 2018, "psoriasis" (+20.3%), "acne" (+7.9%), and "alopecia" (+3.1%) were over-represented, while "melanoma" (-22.5%), "dermatitis" (-4.2%) and "pruritus" (-3.4%) were rather under-represented.

Conclusion: The network analysis showed that the congress was a patient and therapy-centred event. An explanation for the particular focus on chronic inflammatory skin diseases and melanoma would be the introduction of new therapies at the congress. To delineate trends over time, a longitudinal network analysis including several congresses should be conducted and could be used to determine additional topics to be included in future events.

Keywords: DALY; conference; dermatology; digital medicine; melanoma; network analysis; psoriasis; scientography.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy
  • Alopecia / therapy
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Congresses as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Dermatology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dermatology / trends*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Pruritus / therapy
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy