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Publication trends of shared decision making in 15 high impact medical journals: a full-text review with bibliometric analysis

Xavier Blanc1*, Tinh-Hai Collet12, Reto Auer1, Roland Fischer1, Isabella Locatelli1, Pablo Iriarte3, Jan Krause3, France Légaré4 and Jacques Cornuz1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Rue du Bugnon 44, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Medicine Faculty Library, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

4 Chaire de recherche du Canada, Implantation de la prise de décision partagée dans les soins primaires, Département de médecine familiale et de médecine d’urgence, Université Laval, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Québec, Canada

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2014, 14:71  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-71

Published: 9 August 2014



Shared Decision Making (SDM) is increasingly advocated as a model for medical decision making. However, there is still low use of SDM in clinical practice. High impact factor journals might represent an efficient way for its dissemination. We aimed to identify and characterize publication trends of SDM in 15 high impact medical journals.


We selected the 15 general and internal medicine journals with the highest impact factor publishing original articles, letters and editorials. We retrieved publications from 1996 to 2011 through the full-text search function on each journal website and abstracted bibliometric data. We included publications of any type containing the phrase “shared decision making” or five other variants in their abstract or full text. These were referred to as SDM publications. A polynomial Poisson regression model with logarithmic link function was used to assess the evolution across the period of the number of SDM publications according to publication characteristics.


We identified 1285 SDM publications out of 229,179 publications in 15 journals from 1996 to 2011. The absolute number of SDM publications by journal ranged from 2 to 273 over 16 years. SDM publications increased both in absolute and relative numbers per year, from 46 (0.32% relative to all publications from the 15 journals) in 1996 to 165 (1.17%) in 2011. This growth was exponential (P < 0.01). We found fewer research publications (465, 36.2% of all SDM publications) than non-research publications, which included non-systematic reviews, letters, and editorials. The increase of research publications across time was linear. Full-text search retrieved ten times more SDM publications than a similar PubMed search (1285 vs. 119 respectively).


This review in full-text showed that SDM publications increased exponentially in major medical journals from 1996 to 2011. This growth might reflect an increased dissemination of the SDM concept to the medical community.

Shared decision making; Bibliometric analysis; Decision making; Full text search; Review; Information storage and retrieval; PubMed; Text mining