Mapping Global Health: A network analysis of a heterogeneous publication domain

George Weisz, Alberto Cambrosio, Jean-Philippe Cointet: Mapping Global Health: A network analysis of a heterogeneous publication domain. In: BioSocieties, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 520-542, 2017.


This paper examines one of the most visible but oddly neglected aspects of the rapidly expanding Global Health (GH) enterprise: its vast literature. Basing our data on the PubMed MeSH term “World Health” (changed to “Global Health” in 2015) and utilizing the citation and funding metadata provided by Web of Science, we analyze nearly 20,000 articles using the software platform CorTexT for the automatic processing of large text corpora. We perform several types of scientometric network analyses, and provide maps displaying inter-citations among journals publishing GH articles, co-authorship among the 292 authors who published 12 or more papers, co-citation analysis of works (articles, books, and reports) cited at least 30 times by the papers in our database, and funding sources since 2008. The maps display the social, cognitive, and funding substructure of the GH publication field. We suggest that this somewhat fragmented and fuzzy domain is held together by (1) a core group of authors who have for some time been co-authoring numerous papers and reports with one another; (2) several central journals, most notably the Lancet, addressing wider audiences and transcending the narrow specialization characteristic of scientific and biomedical fields; and (3) a growing body of large-data metrics, most prominently the Global Burden of Disease, which has become a rhetorical resource for numerous groups with different agendas.

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