Background: Waterpipe tobacco smoking has spread worldwide. However, the evaluation of scientific output in the field of waterpipe tobacco smoking has not been studied yet. The main objectives of this study were to analyze worldwide research output in the waterpipe tobacco smoking field, and to examine the authorship pattern and the citations retrieved from the Scopus database for over a decade.
Methods: Data from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2012 were searched for documents with specific words regarding waterpipe tobacco smoking as "keywords" in the title. Scientific output was evaluated based on a methodology developed and used in other bibliometric studies: (a) total and trends of contributions in waterpipe tobacco smoking research between 2003 and 2012; (b) authorship patterns and research productivity; (c) collaboration patterns; (d) the citations received by the publications; and (e) areas of interest of the published papers.
Results: Worldwide there were 334 publications that met the criteria during the study period. The largest number of publications in waterpipe tobacco smoking were from the United States of America (USA) (33.5%), followed by Lebanon (15.3%), and France (10.5%). The total number of citations at the time of data analysis (October 18, 2013) was 4,352, with an average of 13 citations per document and a median (interquartile range) of 4.0 (1.0-16.0). The h-index of the retrieved documents was 34. The highest h-index by country was 27 for the USA, followed by 20 for Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon.
Conclusions: The present data reveal a promising rise and a good start for research activity in the field of waterpipe tobacco smoking. More effort is needed to bridge the gap in waterpipe smoking-based research and to promote better evaluation of waterpipe smoking, risks, health effects, or control services worldwide.