Scholarly Influence of the Conference and Labs of the Evaluation Forum eHealth Initiative: Review and Bibliometric Study of the 2012 to 2017 Outcomes

Hanna Suominen*, Liadh Kelly, Lorraine Goeuriot

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The eHealth initiative of the Conference and Labs of the Evaluation Forum (CLEF) has aimed since 2012 to provide researchers working on health text analytics with annual workshops, shared development challenges and tasks, benchmark datasets, and software for processing and evaluation. In 2012, it ran as a scientific workshop with the aim of establishing an evaluation lab, and since 2013, this annual workshop has been supplemented with 3 or more preceding labs each year. An evaluation lab is an activity where the participating individuals or teams’ goal is to solve the same problem, typically using the same dataset in a given time frame. The overall purpose of this initiative is to support patients, their next of kin, clinical staff, health scientists, and health care policy makers in accessing, understanding, using, and authoring health information in a multilingual setting. In the CLEF eHealth 2013 to 2017 installations, the aim was to address patient-centric text processing. From 2015, the scope was also extended to aid both patients’ understanding and clinicians’ authoring of various types of medical content. CLEF eHealth 2017 introduced a new pilot task on technology-assisted reviews (TARs) in empirical medicine in order to support health scientists and health care policymakers’ information access. Objectives: This original research paper reports on the outcomes of the first 6 installations of CLEF eHealth from 2012 to 2017. The focus is on measuring and analyzing the scholarly influence by reviewing CLEF eHealth papers and their citations. Methods: A review and bibliometric study of the CLEF eHealth proceedings, working notes, and author-declared paper extensions were conducted. Citation content analysis was used for the publications and their citations collected from Google Scholar. Results: As many as 718 teams registered their interest in the tasks, leading to 130 teams submitting to the 15 tasks. A total of 184 papers using CLEF eHealth data generated 1299 citations, yielding a total scholarly citation influence of almost 963,000 citations for the 741 coauthors, and included authors from 33 countries across the world. Eight tasks produced statistically significant improvements (2, 3, and 3 times with P<.001, P=.009, and P=.04, respectively) in processing quality by at least 1 out of the top 3 methods. Conclusions: These substantial participation numbers, large citation counts, and significant performance improvements encourage continuing to develop these technologies to address patient needs. Consequently, data and tools have been opened for future research and development, and the CLEF eHealth initiative continues to run new challenges.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere10961
    JournalJMIR Research Protocols
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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