The quantity and quality of published research in the field of Virology by different world regions was estimated in this study. Using the PubMed database, articles from journals included in the "Virology" category of the "Journal Citation Reports" database of the Institute for Scientific Information for the period 1995-2003 were retrieved. The world was divided into nine regions based on geographic, economic, and scientific criteria. Data on the country of origin of the research was available for 33,425 out of 33,712 articles (99.2% of all articles from the included journals). USA exceeds all other world regions in research production for the period studied (42% of total articles), with Western Europe ranking second (35.7%). The mean impact factor in articles published in Virology journals was highest for the USA (4.60), while it was 3.90 for Western Europe and 3.22 for the rest of the world (seven regions combined). USA and Canada ranked first in research productivity when both gross national income per capita (GNIPC) and population were taken into account. The results of this analysis show a distressing fact; the absolute and relative production of research in the field of Virology by the developing regions is very low, although viral diseases cause considerable morbidity and mortality in these areas. It is evident from this study that developing regions need more help from the developed regions to enhance research infrastructure.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.