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OBJECTIVE: To use visualization methods to illustrate and compare major subjects, domains, and developments in evidence-based medicine (EBM) in recent years. METHOD: We analyzed MeSH terms and keywords in EBM articles in the MEDLINE and CNKI databases, and developed subject charts, research field relationship charts, and strategy coordination charts using word co-occurrence, PFNET algorithms, and visualization methods. RESULT: Rapid developments and growth are taking place in EBM in China and around the world. Studies on humans comprised 94.4% of the EBM studies that we identified, while animal studies accounted for 2.6% (three quarters of these animal studies were on primates). The six countries with the largest number of EBM articles and the eight host nations for the 108 journals with the most EBM publications were from high-income countries. In China, 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions have published EBM articles, although most of these publications come from the more highly-developed areas of the country. The investigation of word co-occurrence showed that EBM articles outside of China involve seven main fields: "Therapy", "Methods", "Standards", "Research", "Education", "Nursing" and "Organization and Administration". Five of these fields ("Therapy", "Nursing", "Research", "Education" and "Management") were common to China but the top seven fields for this country included "Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)" and "Information resources"; and did not include "Methods" and "Standards". Furthermore, studies on "Nursing" and "Research" were not as advanced in China as in other countries. CONCLUSION: There are similarities between China and the rest of the world in several areas in the EBM literature but also some important differences. Throughout the world, the most resource-rich regions o organizations tend to have the most well-developed EBM. These regions and organizations are pdocuing more evidence and conducting more methodology research than the less resourced regions and organizations. There is an urgent need for these regions and organizations to strengthen their use of evidence, to learn more about the philosophy that underpins EBM, and to improve accessibility to, and use of, evidence in choices about health care.

Original publication




Journal article


J Evid Based Med

Publication Date





73 - 84


Biomedical Research, Evidence-Based Medicine, Humans, Subject Headings