Radiological research in Europe: a bibliometric study

Eur Radiol. 2003 Apr;13(4):657-62. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1640-7. Epub 2002 Sep 24.


We performed a bibliometric search to evaluate number and scientific "weight" of papers written by European radiologists, as compared with colleagues from other countries, to measure the contribution of European researchers to radiology journals, and to correlate bibliometric parameters with some socio-economic factors of the different European nations. We considered all peer-reviewed articles published by radiologists in biomedical journals quoted by ISI over the 1995-2000 period. To identify authors as radiologists, the string "radiol" had to appear in the address of the corresponding author, and his country was considered as the country of origin of the paper. The definition of Europe included the 15 countries of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland. The scientific "weight" of the paper was assumed to be the impact factor of the journal of the publication in that given year. Then, we considered the annual indexes number of papers/population and number of papers/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in each country. Data were retrieved from the Eurostat annual statistic reviews. From these bases, we obtained a comparison of the scientific production among European radiologists, those from the U.S. and those from the rest of the world. European radiological research is responsible of almost 40% of the world scientific production in our field, and Germany, UK and France are the leading publishers in Europe. An increase of the number of papers written by European radiologists was noted in the 1995-2000 period, whereas the production from the U.S. had a slight decrease. The mean concentration indexes papers/inhabitants and papers/GDP were significantly lower in Europe than in the U.S., even if some small European countries had higher values than the U.S. As a mean, European research received a lower impact factor than that from the U.S. The assessment of research output has progressively developed as an important issue for the scientific research community. Although not flawless, and often criticized for a variety of reasons, citation analysis is a commonly used technique in this field, is a frequent means to "weight" the scientific production of researchers and is one of the criteria used to assign research grants. Our study shows that European radiology is growing and its production is increasing over time, thus indicating strong commitment to research from European radiologists; however, European radiological research has not yet reached leadership in the literature, and mean indexes addressing the level of resources allocated to research are lower in Europe than in the U.S. This latter point has notable exceptions, but indicates inadequacy of funding, at least in some nations, and in Europe as a whole. The development of research programs within the framework of the European Union specifically aimed to radiology could lead to further advancement of our discipline.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Periodicals as Topic* / standards
  • Periodicals as Topic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Radiology* / statistics & numerical data
  • Radiology* / trends
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Research / trends