Background: Diseases of the kidneys and genitourinary tract are common health problems that affect people of all ages and demographic backgrounds. In this study, we compared the quantity and quality of nephrological and urological articles published in international journals from the three major regions of China: the mainland (ML), Hong Kong (HK), and Taiwan (TW).
Methods: Nephrological and urological articles originating from ML, TW, and HK that were published in 61 journals from 1999-2008 were retrieved from the PubMed database. We recorded the numbers of total articles, clinical trials, randomized controlled trials, case reports, impact factors (IF), citations, and articles published in the leading general-medicine journals. We used these data to compare the quantity and quality of publication output from the three regions.
Results: The total number of articles increased significantly from 1999 to 2008 in the three regions. The number of articles from ML has exceeded that from HK since 2004, and surpassed that from TW in 2008. Publications from TW had the highest accumulated IF, total citations of articles, and the most articles published in leading general-medicine journals. However, HK publications had the highest average IF. Although ML produced the largest quantity of articles, it exhibited the lowest quality among the three regions.
Conclusion: The number of nephrological and urological publications originating from the three major regions of China increased significantly from 1999 to 2008. The annual number of publications by ML researchers exceeded those from TW and HK. However, the quality of articles from TW and HK was higher than that from ML.