Worldwide trends in quantity and quality of published articles in the field of infectious diseases

BMC Infect Dis. 2005 Mar 21:5:16. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-5-16.


Background: Trying to confront with the widespread burden of infectious diseases, the society worldwide invests considerably on research. We evaluated the contribution of different world regions in research production in Infectious Diseases.

Methods: Using the online Pubmed database we retrieved articles from 38 journals included in the "Infectious Diseases" category of the "Journal Citation Reports" database of the Institute for Scientific Information for the period 1995-2002. The world was divided into 9 regions based on geographic, economic and scientific criteria. Using an elaborate retrieval system we obtained data on published articles from different world regions. In our evaluation we introduced an estimate of both quantity and quality of research produced from each world region per year using: (1) the total number of publications, (2) the mean impact factor of publications, and (3) the product of the above two parameters.

Results: Data on the country of origin of the research was available for 45,232 out of 45,922 retrieved articles (98.5 %). USA and Western Europe are by far the most productive regions concerning publications of research articles. However, the rate of increase in the production of articles was higher in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia during the study period. The mean impact factor is highest for articles originating in the USA (3.42), while it was 2.82 for Western Europe and 2.73 for the rest of the world (7 regions combined).

Conclusion: USA and Western Europe make up a striking 80% of the world's research production in Infectious Diseases in terms of both quantity and quality. However, all world regions achieved a gradual increase in the production of Infectious Diseases articles, with the regions ranking lower at present displaying the highest rate of increase.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Asia
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Publishing / trends*
  • Time Factors