Increasing International Gaps in Health-Related Publications

Increasing International Gaps in Health-Related Publications

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Unformatted text preview: www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 308 13 MAY 2005 959 D o scientists in countries with the greatest burden of disease or weakest health systems contribute to science- related improvements in health? National scientific outputs reflect not only new knowledge, but also capacities to adapt and benefit from research conducted globally. Although we recognize that evidence of scientific activity is found beyond the articles indexed by internationally recognized refer- ence databases ( 1 ), we base our analysis on the Thomson Scientific databases, which include the addresses of all collaborating authors, during a 10-year period. Although there have been many studies of international research output ( 2 – 5 ), they have been broader in describing the scope of research across nonmedical fields, yet narrower in their defi- nition of health-related research. Unlike pre- vious studies, we do not confine scientific outputs addressing health to biomedical research only. We note that the knowledge required to address physical, mental, and social components of health and to organize and provide preventive, curative, and palliative services within any country must draw on many more scientific disciplines and research outputs. Therefore, we include fields and jour- nals that cover a wider range of health topics, primarily referenced within the Science Citation Index (SCI), as well as health-related journals from the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Major cate- gories in addition to bio- medical sciences include clinical medicine, pharmacology, public health and health sys- tems, social sciences and social welfare, envi- ronmental sciences, and food sciences related to health ( 6 ). Expanding our analysis beyond biomedical research and including a broader range of scientific outputs relevant to health increased by 15% the number of countries represented, primarily the low-income coun- tries. The total number of journals included during the period 1992 to 2001 was 4061, with more than 3.47 million peer-reviewed publications (i.e., articles, notes, and reviews) analyzed, and with collaborating authors residing in 190 countries ( 7 ). Although 23 languages were represented by at least one publication in 2001, about 96% of publica- tions were in English. Scientific publications on health topics were disproportionately distributed and highly concentrated among the world’s richest coun- tries (see table, this page). More than 90% of the publications were produced by scientists in 20 countries. The top seven countries are also the G7 countries, which has not changed in the last decade ( 2 ). The United States was the most prolific, with its authors contributing to more than a third of worldwide production. Another third was shared by authors with affiliations in the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, and Italy. The remaining third came from authors residing in 183 countries, 13 of which constituted the bulk of them. These pro- portions have been rela- tively stable over the 10-...
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2010 for the course SSH 494 taught by Professor Hurtado during the Fall '09 term at ASU.

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Increasing International Gaps in Health-Related Publications

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