Lost in publication: Half of all renal practice evidence is published in non-renal journals

Kidney Int. 2006 Dec;70(11):1995-2005. doi: 10.1038/sj.ki.5001896. Epub 2006 Oct 11.


Physicians often scan a select number of journals to keep up to date with practice evidence for patients with kidney conditions. This raises the question of where relevant studies are published. We performed a bibliometric analysis using 195 renal systematic reviews. Each review used a comprehensive method to identify all primary studies for a focused clinical question relevant to patient care. We compiled all the primary studies included in these reviews, and considered where each study was published. Of the 2779 studies, 1351 (49%) were published in the top 20 journals. Predictably, this list included Transplantation Proceedings (5.9% of studies), Kidney International (5.3%), American Journal of Kidney Diseases (4.7%), Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (4.3%), Transplantation (4.2%), and Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (2.4%). Ten non-renal journals were also on this list, including New England Journal of Medicine (2.4%), Lancet (2.3%), and Diabetes Care (2.2%). The remaining 1428 (51%) studies were published across other 446 journals. When the disciplines of all journals were considered, 59 were classified as renal or transplant journals (42% of articles). Other specialties included general and internal medicine (16%), endocrinology (diabetes) and metabolism (6.5%), surgery (6.2%), cardiovascular diseases (6.1%), pediatrics (4.3%), and radiology (3.3%). About half of all renal practice evidence is published in non-renal journals. Browsing the top journals is important. However, relevant studies are also scattered across a large range of journals that may not be routinely scanned by busy physicians, and keeping up with this literature requires other continuing education strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Nephrology*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Renal Dialysis