In this study, we use topic modeling to analyze the development of the Hastings Center Report over its 50-year history. We find that the Report has shifted from a focus on end-of-life issues in its early years to a broader focus on biomedical ethics in recent years.
Our results suggest that the Report has played an important role in shaping debates within the field of bioethics.
We find that the Hastings Center Report has generally maintained a focus on core topics such as end-of-life care, medical decision-making, and professional ethics.
However, there has been a shift in emphasis over time, with increasing attention paid to topics such as reproductive ethics, genetics, and global health.
This shift may reflect changing concerns within the field of bioethics, or it may simply reflect the fact that these topics were underrepresented in the early years of the journal.
We find that the journal has shifted its focus over time from medical ethics (e.g., abortion, end-of-life care) to public health ethics (e.g., pandemics, resource allocation) and research ethics (e.g., informed consent, genetics). The journal has also moved away from applied ethics and toward normative ethical theory.
These findings suggest that HCR is responding to changes in the field of bioethics and may be reflective of larger trends in the field.