The Status of Scholarly Efforts of Librarians on Health Literacy: a Bibliometric Analysis

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2022


Journal of the Medical Library Association

Subjects (LCSH)

Libraries, Bibliometrics, Health Literacy, Librarians


Objective: In order to determine the status of scholarly efforts on health literacy by librarians, researchers examined the characteristics of health literacy publications authored by librarians from 2000 to 2020.

Methods: Bibliometric analysis was used to assess the indicators of productivity, affiliation, collaboration, and citation metrics of librarians in health literacy–related research. Data were collected using the Scopus database; articles were screened for inclusion before importation into Microsoft Excel for analysis. SPSS software was used to run basic descriptive statistics.

Results: Of 797 search results, 460 references met the inclusion criteria of librarian authorship. There was a significant linear trend upward in publications since 2001 with an average increase of 1.52 papers per year. The number of publications per year peaked in 2019 (n=59). Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet was the most prolific journal. The majority of references were authored by at least two authors and by multidisciplinary teams. Nineteen percent (n=107) of the librarian authors were responsible for more than one publication, and 84.1% of publications were cited at least once.

Conclusions: In the last two decades, librarian involvement in health literacy publications has exponentially increased, most markedly in the years following 2014. The productivity, multidisciplinary collaboration efforts, and consistent growth in literature indicate that librarians are engaged in health literacy scholarship. Further research is needed to explore the work of librarians whose impacts on health literacy may not be reflected within well-indexed, peer-reviewed publications.