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PeerJ. 2018 Jun 29;6:e5091. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5091. eCollection 2018.

Bibliometric analysis of research on the role of intestinal microbiota in obesity.

Yao H#1,2,3, Wan JY#1,2,4, Wang CZ2,3, Li L1, Wang J1, Li Y1, Huang WH2,3, Zeng J2,3, Wang Q1, Yuan CS2,3.

Author information

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China.
Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States of America.
Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States of America.
School of Pharmacy, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China.
Contributed equally



Obesity is a key public health problem. The advancement of gut microbiota research sheds new light on this field. This article aims to present the research trends in global intestinal microbiota studies within the domain of obesity research.


Bibliographic information of the publications on intestinal microbiota and obesity was retrieved from the Scopus database, and then analyzed by using bibliometric approaches.


A total of 3,446 references were retrieved; the data indicated a steady growth and an exponential increase in publication numbers. The references were written in 23 different languages (93.8% in English). A number of 3,056 English journal papers were included in the further analyses. Among the 940 journals, the most prolific ones were PLOS ONE, Scientific Reports, and British Journal of Nutrition. North America and Europe were the highest publication output areas. The US (995 publications) ranked first in the number of publications, followed by the China (243 publications) and France (242 publications). The publication numbers were significantly correlated with gross domestic product (GDP), human development index (HDI), and population number (PN). International collaboration analysis also shows that most of the collaborations are among developed countries.


This comprehensive bibliometric study indicates that gut microbiota is a significant topic in the obesity research. The structured information may be helpful in understanding research trends, and locating research hot spots and gaps in this domain.


Bibliometrics; Data-mining; Intestinal microbiota; Obesity

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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