Paul Knoepfler put up a really interesting post today on text mining the titles of articles in Cell Stem Cell and Stem Cells. The results are striking, as he notes – and it looked like a fun way to procrastinate for a couple of hours. So I decided to do the same with three bioethics journals: the American Journal of Bioethics, Bioethics, and Journal of Medical Ethics. I mostly chose these because they were the first three to come to mind, and not out of anything more scientifically rigorous. The results are interesting:
Note that unlike Paul, I didn’t pull defining words like bioethics, ethics, or ethical out of my word clouds. Why? Well, I was going to until I ran the first, which was AJOB, and saw that “bioethics” didn’t actually come up in any large way. That caught my attention, and I decided to leave the results as is, rather than to remove words based on what would have been, in this case, inaccurate assumption.
It’s also worth noting that AJOB has a different format, relying on Target Articles and then Open Peer Commentaries. In practice, this means that words like “nudge” – which was used in a Target Article – will be inflated in use because of the repetition in the commentaries. This is definitely a reflection of the journal, and can make it a bit more difficult to abstract any conclusions about what is published where. Still, overall, this is a somewhat interesting exercise in the varying focus of different bioethics journals (a topic that I was actually discussing with people last week).