Exploring the Interdisciplinary Nature of Precision Medicine:Network Analysis and Visualization

Xin Xu, Jiming Hu, Xiaoguang Lyu, Huang He, Cheng Xingyu : Exploring the Interdisciplinary Nature of Precision Medicine:Network Analysis and Visualization. In: JMIR Medical Informatics, 2021.


The aim of this study is to present the nature of interdisciplinary collaboration in precision medicine based on co-occurrences and social network analysis. A total of 7544 studies about precision medicine, published between 2010 and 2019, were collected from the Web of Science database. We analyzed interdisciplinarity with descriptive statistics, co-occurrence analysis, and social network analysis. An evolutionary graph and strategic diagram were created to clarify the development of streams and trends in disciplinary communities. The results indicate that 105 disciplines are involved in precision medicine research and cover a wide range. However, the disciplinary distribution is unbalanced. Current cross-disciplinary collaboration in precision medicine mainly focuses on clinical application and technology-associated disciplines. The characteristics of the disciplinary collaboration network are as follows: (1) disciplinary cooperation in precision medicine is not mature or centralized; (2) the leading disciplines are absent; (3) the pattern of disciplinary cooperation is mostly indirect rather than direct. There are 7 interdisciplinary communities in the precision medicine collaboration network; however, their positions in the network differ. Community 4, with disciplines such as genetics and heredity in the core position, is the most central and cooperative discipline in the interdisciplinary network. This indicates that Community 4 represents a relatively mature direction in interdisciplinary cooperation in precision medicine. Finally, according to the evolution graph, we clearly present the development streams of disciplinary collaborations in precision medicine. We describe the scale and the time frame for development trends and distributions in detail. Importantly, we use evolution graphs to accurately estimate the developmental trend of precision medicine, such as biological big data processing, molecular imaging, and widespread clinical applications.

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