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Autism research activity in the UK: publications Publications represent a major indicator of research activity. We used the available online publication databases to collate information on UK peer-reviewed research published in 2001 and 2011. Articles were classified according to research area (see p.1819). This analysis allowed us to address the following four questions: 1. How much has UK autism research grown? 2. What areas of research are being addressed? 3. Are there any patterns of change in UK autism research activity? 4. How does the pattern of UK research activity compare to such activity in other parts of the world, particularly the US? 6,190 English-language articles were located from 12 electronic databases using a selection of autism-related search terms. Of the autism articles included in the analysis (see Appendix

B for inclusion criteria), 548 were published in 2001 and 2,101 were published in 2011, suggesting a remarkable (283%) increase in research activity across the globe. This increase mirrors the findings of the IACC’s Research Publications Analysis Report8, which also showed that the growth in autism publication rates far outpaces the research literature in comparable areas, such as child psychiatry and developmental psychology. This huge surge in the field is most likely due to the dramatic increase in measured prevalence and the increased public awareness and appreciation of individuals with autism and the challenges they face.22

How much has UK autism research grown? UK autism research saw a 107% rise in publications over the 10-year period, increasing from 90 publications in 2001

Fig 3. Autism publications around the world in 2001 and 2011. Figures represent % growth.

2001 2011

Number of Publications



380% 107%


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A future made together: Shaping autism research in the UK  

A future made together: Shaping autism research in the UK  

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