Background: The volume of literature, including publications describing urological, and specifically bladder cancer research, is increasing exponentially, and becoming more widely dispersed across different journals.
Objectives: We aimed to identify the number of journals one would need to read to stay up-to-date with current bladder cancer evidence.
Methods: We searched PubMed for all articles relating to bladder cancer systematic reviews (SR) and/or meta-analyses (MA) or randomised controlled trials (RCT) published in 2014 using a combination of Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and free-text terms. The search results were exported to EndNote and Microsoft Excel. We screened the titles and/or abstracts of the search results, and excluded publications not focused on bladder cancer research or not relating to a SR, MA, or RCT. We calculated the least number of journals needed to read 25%, 50% and 75% of the articles describing SRs/MAs and RCTs in 2014.
Results: The search identified 75 SRs/MAs published in 2014, spread over 38 journals. One journal contained 25% of the articles (Tumour Biology), eight journals contained 50%, and 20 journals contained 75%. Twenty-four journals contained only one SR/MA publication. The search also identified 37 articles relating to RCTs published in 2014, spread over 23 journals. Two journals contained 25% of the articles (most commonly: 1) European Urology; 2) The Journal of Urology), six journals contained 50%, and 14 journals contained 75%. Seventeen journals contained only one RCT publication.
Conclusions: This study indicated that almost one article relating to a bladder cancer SR/MR or RCT is published every three days. Vast ‘scatter’ of such articles was observed; many journals published only one relevant article in a year. In order to read one half of the new bladder cancer research publication identified in this study, an individual would require access/subscriptions to 13 different journals. Using bladder cancer as one example, this study highlights ongoing challenges individuals face in staying ‘up-to-date’ with new evidence.