Two Similarity Metrics for Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): An Aid to Biomedical Text Mining and Author Name Disambiguation

Neil R Smalheiser, Gary Bonifield

Abstract


In the present paper, we have created and characterized several similarity metrics for relating any two Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms) to each other. The article-based metric measures the tendency of two MeSH terms to appear in the MEDLINE record of the same article. The author-based metric measures the tendency of two MeSH terms to appear in the body of articles written by the same individual (using the 2009 Author-ity author name disambiguation dataset as a gold standard). The two metrics are only modestly correlated with each other (r = 0.50), indicating that they capture different aspects of term usage. The article-based metric provides a measure of semantic relatedness, and MeSH term pairs that co-occur more often than expected by chance may reflect relations between the two terms. In contrast, the author metric is indicative of how individuals practice science, and may have value for author name disambiguation and studies of scientific discovery. We have calculated article metrics for all MeSH terms appearing in at least 25 articles in MEDLINE (as of 2014) and author metrics for MeSH terms published as of 2009. The dataset is freely available for download and can be queried at http://arrowsmith.psych.uic.edu/arrowsmith_uic/mesh_pair_metrics.html. Handling editor: Elizabeth Workman, MLIS, PhD. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/disco.v7i0.6654