Background The study is part of a larger programme exploring the challenges to and facilitators of occupational epidemiology (OE) research in the UK. The OE field is currently facing many challenges. Based on findings from a previous phase of this study, lack of human and financial resources is of utmost concern for key-researchers in this area. The challenges are perceived to have increased over time resulting in a smaller and more scattered OE community, and subsequently less influential. These challenges are perceived to have negatively affected its members’ ability to conduct high quality research projects compared to those within similar fields, yet perceived more successful, such as public health epidemiology (PHE). This phase aims to explore how time trends in research publications in OE compare with those in PHE, in the cancer field. Cancer is a well-established topic in both fields; thus, rich data is anticipated for analysis.
Methods A systematic search, using EBSCO/Medline database (1960–2011), will be conducted using a strategy combining descriptors listed in the EBSCO Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Thesaurus primarily; epidemiology, neoplasms, and UK. Cancer epidemiology studies, published in English and conducted in the UK, will be selected. Data will be extracted and analysed using bibliometric methods including; counts of papers, citation analysis, authorship analysis, and collaboration indicators. The publication trends and characteristics of the included articles/journals will be assessed, including, where possible, funding bodies’ characteristics. Any association between these characteristics and the level of research productivity/output will be evaluated.
Result/Conclusions This study will identify time-periods where, UK-based, OE publications volume had been high/low, and provide insights into OE research contribution to cancer epidemiology, and its strengths and weaknesses compared with PHE. The identified time-periods will be the focus of a subsequent phase, documentary review, where OE challenges/facilitators will be examined compared to those in PHE.
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