Trends in global acupuncture publications: An analysis of the Web of Science database from 1988 to 2015

Yen Ying Kung, Shinn Jang Hwang, Tsai Feng Li, Seong Gyu Ko, Ching Wen Huang, Fang Pey Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Acupuncture is a rapidly growing medical specialty worldwide. This study aimed to analyze the acupuncture publications from 1988 to 2015 by using the Web of Science (WoS) database. Familiarity with the trend of acupuncture publications will facilitate a better understanding of existing academic research in acupuncture and its applications. Methods Academic articles published focusing on acupuncture were retrieved and analyzed from the WoS database which included articles published in Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Indexed journals from 1988 to 2015. Results A total of 7450 articles were published in the field of acupuncture during the period of 1988–2015. Annual article publications increased from 109 in 1988 to 670 in 2015. The People's Republic of China (published 2076 articles, 27.9%), USA (published 1638 articles, 22.0%) and South Korea (published 707 articles, 9.5%) were the most abundantly prolific countries. According to the WoS subject categories, 2591 articles (34.8%) were published in the category of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, followed by Neurosciences (1147 articles, 15.4%), and General Internal Medicine (918 articles, 12.3%). Kyung Hee University (South Korea) is the most prolific organization that is the source of acupuncture publications (365 articles, 4.9%). Fields within acupuncture with the most cited articles included mechanism, clinical trials, epidemiology, and a new research method of acupuncture. Conclusion Publications associated with acupuncture increased rapidly from 1988 to 2015. The different applications of acupuncture were extensive in multiple fields of medicine. It is important to maintain and even nourish a certain quantity and quality of published acupuncture papers, which can play an important role in developing a medical discipline for acupuncture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-525
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Acupuncture
  • Qualitative method
  • Statistics


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