Recent scientific/intellectual movements in biomedicine

Social Science & Medicine
Volume 278 June 2021


Research article Abstract only
Recent scientific/intellectual movements in biomedicine
Larry Au
Article 113950
This study compares the trajectories of recent scientific/intellectual movements (SIMs) in biomedicine: evidence-based medicine, translational medicine, precision medicine, personalized medicine, stratified medicine, and genomic medicine. Drawing on bibliometric analysis of these six SIMs, this study identifies three patterns: field integration, niche creation, and disruptive insurgence. Field integration SIMs such as evidence-based medicine and translational medicine are characterized by centrality of key concept papers of the SIM in co-citation networks and dense institutional and country collaboration networks, signaling the resonance of the SIM to the broader biomedical community. In contrast, niche creation SIMs such as stratified medicine and genomic medicine are characterized by lower levels of annual scientific production, the lack centrality or connectivity of key concept papers in co-citation networks, and less density in collaboration networks. Disruptive insurgence SIMs such as precision medicine and personalized medicine are characterized by a high level of annual scientific production, driven by a smaller core of institutions and countries. This is likely a transitional stage as field disrupting SIMs can either become integrated with the broader field or become influential in niches. Proponents of the current push for precision medicine should ensure that a wide range of institutions and specialties be included while being mindful of the dominance of cancer and genomic approaches to health and medicine.