London: The number of articles citing the lyrics of Bob Dylan in the biomedical literature has increased exponentially since 1990, says a study.
Researchers from Karolinska Institute in Sweden decided to investigate how the lyrics of Bob Dylan are cited in the titles of published biomedical papers.
A search of all his song and album titles was conducted in May 2015. A selection of the most popular Dylan songs was searched to find modified titles.
In all, 213 of 727 references were classified as unequivocally citing Bob Dylan and were included in the subsequent analysis.
Interestingly, the researchers noted that, after a handful of citations during Bob Dylan’s heyday in the first half of the 1970s, very few articles in the biomedical sciences cited Bob Dylan until 1990.
The two most cited Dylan songs are “The times they are a-changin’” (135 articles) and “Blowin’ in the wind” (36 articles).
The search also revealed the use of other popular titles such as “All along the watchtower”, “Knockin’ on heaven’s door”, and “Like a rolling stone”.
Recent evidence suggests that Bob Dylan has a great deal of respect for the medical profession, as shown in the song “Don’t fall apart on me tonight”, in which Dylan laments: “I wish I’d have been a doctor/ maybe I’d have saved some life that had been lost/maybe I’d have done some good in the world/ ‘stead of burning every bridge I crossed.”
Based on this survey, the researchers suggested that the medical profession shows the same respect for Bob Dylan.
“It is clear that Bob Dylan’s rich song catalogue has provided a source of inspiration for medical scientists,” the scientists concluded.
The findings appeared in The BMJ (British Medical Journal).