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M 20: Three Decades Research Advances in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Systems: A Global View of Big Data

Poster Presenter

      Weixiang Zhang

      • Student, Institute of Chinese Medicine
      • University of Macau


(1) To provide a panorama of global pharmaceutics/drug delivery researches by big data (2) To investigate the research advances and future trends of pharmaceutics/drug delivery field in recent three decades


Literatures were extracted from pharmaceutics-related journals with impact factor above 1.0 in subject category of “Pharmacology & Pharmacy” via WoS from 1980 to 2014. Combined big data and visualization tools (CiteSpace et al) were used to map knowledge structure and intellectual collaborations.


Total 27 relevant journals and 111,461 publications were identified. The annual number of publication showed a steadily-rising in last three decades. Japan had the largest contribution to pharmaceutics literatures with global share of 26.1%, followed by USA (24.8%), UK (7.4%), China (6.1%) and Germany (4.1%). But there was a continuing decline trend in Japan after 1994. School of Pharmacy from University of London ranked 1st among top ten the most productive institutions. Pfizer (2nd) and GlaxoSmithKline (9th) led the field of pharmaceutics industry. CiteSpace program was used to detect the keywords burst, in order to find out the research fronts shifting in pharmaceutics over three decades. From 1980 to 2000, the hot keywords focused on “Prodrug”, “Metabolism”, “Plasma”. During 2000 to present, the research area, such as “Liposome”, “Microcapsule”, “Nanoparticle”, “Gene delivery” and “Cancer” were gained the widely attentions. 3,242 publications with citation times above 100 were considered as “high-quality publications”. USA ranked 1st with 1389 articles, followed by Japan, England, Germany and France. In addition, there was a great globalization landscape of pharmaceutics researches. But for “high-quality publications”, the major research institutions were mainly located only in Europe, USA and Asian. The collaborations between USA and Europe were much stronger than that with Asia. For “high-quality publications”, cluster analysis was conducted to capture the evolution of research themes and emerging trends. The result showed that the main cluster changed several years shown in ascending order of occurring years: “Structure-property relationship”, “MDCK”, “Gene”, “P-glycoprotein”, “Nanoparticle-based theranostic”. The largest cluster was “Gene” that indicated it shaped the foundation of current knowledge domain in pharmaceutics. “Nanoparticle-based theranostic” was the youngest cluster showed it was a most active topic in this science domain.


(1) Japan had the largest contribution to global pharmaceutics-related literatures, but with a continuing decline trend since 1994. USA ranked first from 2002 in annual publication number and dominated high-quality publications over years. China, showing a significant increase since 2000 in amount of publications, was going to occupy the more important position in global pharmaceutics publication share. (2) The mainstream research institutions concentrated on North America, Europe and Asia. Academic institutions led pharmaceutical researches. International pharmaceutical companies also played an important role in this field. Moreover, the strength of collaborations between North America and Europe were much stronger than other cross-territory cooperation. (3) Over three decades, the research frontiers shifted from conventional dosage form researches, analysis of drug effective components (“prodrug”, “metabolism”, “plasma”) to advanced drug delivery systems and cancer treatment (“nanoparticle”, “gene delivery”, “liposome” and “paclitaxel” “cancer therapy”). It was shown that nanoparticle, gene delivery and the application in the cancer treatment were main active topics currently which were also expected to continue as hot research areas over next couple of years. In addition, according to some emerging publications, in silico formulation development and personalized medicine might receive more attention in the future. Our research provided a comprehensive and deep insight to pharmaceutics field in recent three decades from macro-perspective. Current study could also help researchers to obtain a dynamic picture of intellectual collaborations in pharmaceutics domain.