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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 10th European Congress on Telepathology and 4th International Congress on Virtual Microscopy

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25 years of telepathology research: a bibliometric analysis

Vincenzo Della Mea

Author Affiliations

University of Udine, Medical Informatics, Telemedicine and eHealth Lab, Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Italy

Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6(Suppl 1):S26  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-S1-S26

Published: 30 March 2011



The first appearance of the word “telepathology” in a scientific paper can be tracked down to 1986, in a famous editorial of Ronald Weinstein. Since that paper, research in telepathology grew up developing different subfields, including static and dynamic telepathology and more recently virtual microscopy. The present work attempts an analysis of research in telepathology, starting from the tools provided by bibliometrics.


A query has been developed to extract papers related to telepathology and virtual microscopy, and it has been then submitted to Pubmed by means of Entrez Utilities functions. Results obtained in XML have been processed through ad-hoc developed PHP scripts, in order to extract data on Authors, countries, and keywords.


On PubMed, 967 papers related to telepathology and virtual microscopy have been retrieved, which involved 2904 Authors; corresponding authors were from 37 countries. Of those authors, 2213 co-authored just one paper. Papers were published on 344 different journals, of which only 52 from the Pathology field. An analysis of papers per year has been also attempted, that demonstrates variable research output in time.


From the proposed analysis, telepathology seems to have been consistently studied, in time, by about 400 researchers, with occasional participation of many other people. Telepathology research seems also to have varied in time, although some peaks in paper publishing are certainly related to the proceedings of the European congress on telepathology series, when they have been published on journals. However, some clear sign appears that suggests research in traditional telepathology, after a peak in 2000, showed some decline until virtual microscopy became mainstream, topic that currently pushes research again. The low number of clinical trials calls for more randomized studies in telepathology, to enable evidence-based application.