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The development and expansion of the research fronts in HIV/AIDS research: fast algorithm for detecting community structure in networks

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journal contribution
posted on 02.01.2021, 18:19 by Prof. Dr. Daniel CeboProf. Dr. Daniel Cebo
In this study the emergence, structure and dynamics of the paradigmatic research fronts that established the principles of the biomedical knowledge on HIV/AIDS are studied and described. A search of papers with the identifiers “HIV/AIDS”, “Human Immunodeficiency Virus”, “HIV-1” and “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome” in the Web of Science (Thomson Reuters), was carried out. A citation network of those studies was formed. Then, a sub-network of the papers with the highest amount of inter-quotations (with a minimal in-degree of 28) was chosen to represent a combination of network clustering and text mining to describe the paradigmatic research fronts and evaluate their dynamics. Thirteen research fronts were identified in this sub-network. The biggest and oldest front is referred to the clinical knowledge on the condition in the patient. Nine of the fronts are related to the study of specific molecular structures and mechanisms and two of these fronts are related to the development of drugs. The rest of the fronts are related to the research of the disorder at the cellular level. Interestingly, the emergence of these fronts appeared in subsequent “waves” over the time which suggests a transition in the paradigmatic focus. The emergence and evolution of the biomedical fronts in HIV/AIDS research is illustrated not just by the separation of the problem in elements and communications leading to increasingly specialized societies, but again by changes in the technological context of this health problem and the dramatic changes in the epidemiological reality of HIV/AIDS that occurred between 2013 and 2015.