Objective: In 2015, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery highlighted the disparities in surgical care worldwide. The aim of the present study was to investigate the research productivity of low-income countries (LICs) and low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) in selected journals representing the worldwide neurosurgical data and their ability to report and communicate globally the existing differences between high-income countries (HICs) and LMICs.
Methods: We performed a retrospective bibliometric analysis using PubMed and Scopus databases to record all the reports from 2015 to 2017 by investigators affiliated with neurosurgical departments in LICs and LMICs.
Results: A total of 8459 reports by investigators self-identified as members of neurosurgery departments worldwide were identified. Of these, 6708 reports were included in accordance with our method in the final analysis. The systematic search resulted in 459 studies reported by LICs and LMICs. Of these, 334 reports were included for the full text evaluation. Of the 6708 reports, 303 (4.52%) had been reported with an LMIC affiliation and only 31 (0.46%) with an LIC. The leading countries were India with 182 (54.5% among LMICs and LICs; 2.71% overall), followed by Egypt at 66 (19.76% among the LMICs and LICs; 0.98% overall), with a large difference compared with other countries such as Uganda at 9 (2.69% among the LMICs and LICs) and Tunisia and Pakistan at 8 each (2.4% among the LMICs and LICs). A few reports studies had been generated by collaboration with HIC neurosurgeons.
Conclusions: Our results have shown that research studies from LMICs are underrepresented. Understanding and discussing the reasons for this underrepresentation are necessary to start addressing the disparities in neurosurgical research and care capacity. Future engagements from international journals, more partnership collaboration from HICs, and tailored funding to support investigators, collaborations, and networks could be of help.
Keywords: Developing countries; Education; Global neurosurgery; Literature; World health.
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