The field of public health services and systems research (PHSSR), which evaluates the public health system, combines a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives but lacks a strong identity.
Researchers used a citation network approach and Google Scholar PageRank technology to map the relationship among published articles. They identified seed articles in research and followed the citations of those forward in time.
Results of analysis:
- 2,986 unique documents were published between 1993 and 2009.
- More than 2,000 unique lead authors contributed an average of 1.3 articles to the network.
- 10 top authors contributed 8 to 39 articles each.
- Articles in the network were cited between zero and 387 times by other articles in the network.
- The main path included 108 articles and seven of the seeds.
- Latent position cluster modeling identified four subfields:
- National Public Health Performance Standards Program
- Public health law
- Behavioral interventions
- Local health department activities, effectiveness and partnership (core)
- While subfields 1 through 3 had citations to core subfield 4, there was a lack of cross-subfield citations among the other three.
To meet PHSSR national goals the unconnected research areas need to be connected, ideally through transdisciplinary research teams.