Network analysis to detect gaps in research on smokeless tobacco: implications for future policy
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ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, WHO FCTC Global Knowledge Hub on Smokeless Tobacco, India
Indian Council of Medical Research, India
ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, India
School of Preventive Oncology, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A444
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Smokeless Tobacco (SLT) is increasingly becoming a global menace, though the greatest burden of its use is borne by South-East Asia region. Though extensive research has been conducted on various aspects of SLT use and its effects, no effort has yet been undertaken to consolidate this data and identify the still-under researched areas in this field.
This study was aimed at identification of the degree of collaboration between scientists involved in SLT research and the areas receiving thrust of scientific interest so far. The final aim was to identify the research gaps for better policy impact assessments

Data about research in SLT were collected from PubMed database using inbuilt query and MESH Terms. Data was extracted in XML format and parsed into database using Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP). Networks were designed where node represented unique authors and edges represented degree of collaborations between them. Also, quantum of research in various aspects of SLT was identified using MESH terms.

Data of 2094 records was analyzed. The highest number of paired collaborative research using author identifier was found in Pakistan (4) followed by United States of America (3).
Maximum number of articles were devoted to epidemiology of SLT use (925) and adverse effects of these products (1017) while least research has been conducted on economics of SLT (47). Trend analysis revealed that epidemiological research on SLT gained momentum significantly after 2005.

The present analysis, first of its kind in the field of SLT, highlights the paucity of research studies on important topic like economic costs and alternative strategies are vital for policy makers to implement SLT control. We would like to suggest formation of core research groups in high-burden countries dedicated to important aspects of SLT.