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Interests and concerns of the Army Medical Services as reflected by the publications in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1903–2019
  1. Tom Barker
  1. Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, ICT Centre, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Tom Barker, Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, ICT Centre, Birmingham B152SQ, UK; tombarker{at}


Introduction The Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps (JRAMC) is published with the aim of propagating current knowledge and expertise while also acting as institutional memory for the practice of medicine within the military. This work aimed to examine how the interests of the JRAMC, and by inference the Army Medical Services, have changed over time as reflected by the articles published in the journal.

Methods A text mining analysis of the titles of all published articles in the JRAMC between 1903 and 2019 was performed. The most commonly used terms were identified and their relative frequency over the decades analysed to identify trends. Article content and contemporary events were compared with the observed trends to identify explanatory events and themes of interest.

Results Medical topics of interest centred around specific infectious diseases, particularly during the early/mid-20th century, and trauma and battle injury. The medical specialties of surgery, anaesthetics and mental health were all well represented in nearly all decades, while primary care only came to prominence as a named specialty from the 1960s onwards. India, France, Egypt and wider Africa were the most commonly cited geographical regions, although there were spikes of interest associated with specific conflicts in the Falklands, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Conclusion The interests of the JRAMC have changed considerably over the years primarily driven by the geopolitical interests of Britain—in particular its colonial interests and the conflicts it has been involved in, but also by medical advances seen in contemporary society.

  • Medical History
  • Military Medical History
  • Text Mining
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  • Contributors TB is the sole author and responsible for all elements of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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