October 20, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Text mining journal Stem Cells: intriguing comparison to Cell Stem Cell

I recently did a text mining of all the article titles for Cell Stem Cell for 2012. The results were very insightful (expressed in a beautiful word cloud) for the journal and what are the top areas of focus of authors publishing there.

I just did the same analysis for the journal Stem Cells and the results are striking. See below.

Stem Cell Cloud

The #1 word (other than “stem”, “cell” and “cells”, which I removed) is the same as Cell Stem Cell: human .

What does this mean?

Articles on human stem cells either (A) predominate or (B) authors choose to emphasize the human nature of their stem cells in the titles of their articles because they believe that reviewers and editors may view it more favorably.

The #2 word doe Stem Cells: embryonic (4th at Cell Stem Cell).

However from there things interestingly diverge.

Tied for #3 are two words not ranking highly at Cell Stem Cell:

differentiation and mesenchymal.

These reflect two areas of focus for Stem Cells that are simply not remotely as important for articles at Cell Stem Cell. This is a huge, meaningful difference between the journals.

Tied for #5 and #6 at Stem Cells are pluripotent (ranked #2 at Cell Stem Cell) and neural (ranked #5 at Cell Stem Cell).

Tied for #7 and #8 are induced and signaling, (ranked #6 and #8 at Cell Stem Cell).

Other differences?

Cancer is a relatively much bigger word at Stem Cells, while interestingly hematopoietic/hematopoiesis and reprogramming are much smaller….could authors at Stem Cells call hematopoietic stem cells more often “mesenchymal stem cells”?

The words progenitor and mouse are also much bigger in Stem Cells.

What about verbs?

#1 is regulates and next is promotes. Amazingly these are the same as at Cell Stem Cell.  Why do stem cell papers have such vague, uninteresting verbs in their titles? Cautionary nature?

Text mining is a powerful way to see what journals emphasize (or not emphasize) and see trends in fields.