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Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain': Using a bibliometric study to identify trends and knowledge gaps of vector-borne disease research in Oklahoma

Noden, Bruce H.
Research on vector-borne diseases on the Great Plains has a rich and dynamic publication history. The aim of this study was to assess the publication trends in Oklahoma between 1965 and 2015 with a view to identifying knowledge gaps on which to focus future research initiatives. Using Web of Science (Thompson Reuters) and Pubmed (National Center for Biotechnology Information) in EndNote, a total of 747 publications was identified that involved Oklahoma-based researchers, samples, or data obtained since 1965. Eighty-two percent (n = 615) of the published studies focused on ticks and tick-borne diseases. Most of the studies involving specific tick species (n = 282) focused on the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.), (51.1%), with anaplasmosis the primary disease system studied. Until 1989, most vector-borne disease research focused on ecology and control. The trend shifted almost complementarily since the 1990s with as much as 80% of research focused on clinical- or laboratory-based studies. This study found a rich diversity of research on vector-borne diseases in Oklahoma during the past 5 decades, most of which need greater attention. At least 30 universities in Oklahoma that provide 2-year associate degrees to underserved populations provide excellent possibilities from which to address important questions regarding vector-borne diseases.