Study objectives: To evaluate the contribution of different world regions in respiratory research productivity.
Methods: The world was divided into nine regions based on a combination of geographic, economic, and scientific criteria. Using the PubMed database, we retrieved information about the origin of articles from 30 journals included in the Respiratory System category of the Journal Citation Reports database for a 9-year period (1995 to 2003). We estimated the total number of publications, their mean impact factor, the product of these two parameters, and the research productivity per million of population of the world area divided by the gross national income per capita (GNIPC), for every year and the whole period of the study, for all defined world regions.
Measurements and results: Data on the country of origin of the publications was available for 48,614 of 49,382 retrieved articles (98.5%). The majority of articles published between 1995 and 2003 originated from Western Europe (40.4%) and the United States (35.4%). The research productivity compared to population and the GNIPC was found to be higher for Canada and Oceania compared to the United States and Western Europe. The rate of increase of the total published research product (number of published articles multiplied by the impact factor) was higher in the United States and Europe. The total research contribution of Asia, Eastern Europe, Central and Latin America, and Africa regarding the number of published articles was notably very low (approximately 8%).
Conclusions: The data suggest that there was a significant research activity in the field of respiratory medicine during the studied period. Although leaders of production of respiratory medicine research were from Western Europe and the United States, Canada, and Oceania had the best performance after adjustment for population and GNIPC.