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Public Health. 2003 Jul;117(4):274-80.

Biomedical publication--global profile and trend.

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Department of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, 54 Kawahara-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


The objectives of this study were to describe the global profile of biomedical research productivity and to examine any improvement seen in it in the developing world during the period 1990-2000. Biomedical research articles published during 1990-2000 were accessed through the Medline database. The number of (journal) articles originating from each of the countries of the world, normalized to number of publications per million population (PPMP) per year, was elicited. In addition, the time trends of the number of publications in terms of each of the countries, continents, and economic groups were investigated. In terms of continents, North America had the highest number of biomedical PPMP per year (341.33); this was followed by Australia and Oceania (288.35), Europe (136.88), Asia (12.81), South America and Caribbean region (10.80), and Africa (3.50). In total, 52.7% of the countries showed a positive trend over time: 23.3% in South America, 28.9% in Africa, 40.0% in Australia and Oceania, 61.0% in Asia, 84.6% in Europe, and 100% in North America. All the continents except Africa showed a significantly positive trend. The share of the total number of publications went down for Africa (from 1.2 to 0.8%) and up slightly for Asia (from 14.3 to 15.6%) and South America (from 1.3 to 1.8%) during 2000 compared with 1990. The better the economic ranking of a country, the higher the number of biomedical PPMP. The total share of publications coming from low-income countries also fell, from 2% in 1990 to 1.7% in 2000. The imbalance between developed and developing countries in terms of biomedical research is significant. Pragmatic policies should be adopted by the World Bank, World Health Organization, other United Nations bodies, and respective governments to encourage biomedical research in the less-developed parts of the world.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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