Endokrynologia Polska 5/2015-Worldwide research productivity in the field of endocrinology and metabolism – a bibliometric analysis

PRACE ORYGINALNE/ORIGINAL PAPERS

Worldwide research productivity in the field of endocrinology and metabolism – a bibliometric analysis

Światowa produktywność badań w dziedzinie endokrynologii i metabolizmu – analiza bibliometryczna

Xiyan Zhao1,2, Ru Ye1,2, Linhua Zhao1, Yiqun Lin1,2, Wenjing Huang1, Xinhui He1,2, Fengmei Lian1, Xiaolin Tong1

1Department of Endocrinology, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China

2Graduate School, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

Xiaolin Tong M.D., Fengmei Lian M.D., Department of Endocrinology, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, No.5 Beixiange Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 100053, China, e-mail: xiaolintong_66@126.com (X. Tong); lfm0226@sohu.com (E Lian)

Abstract

Introduction: Recently, significant contributions to the study of endocrinology and metabolism have been made. The national contribution, however, has not been reported. The aim of this study was to assess national efforts in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

Material and methods: A Web of Science search was performed using subject categories „endocrinology & metabolism” to identify articles published from 2010 to 2014. The total and per capita numbers of articles and citations were analysed for different countries.

Results: A total of 79,394 articles were published on endocrinology and metabolism from 2010 to 2014. Most were published in North America, East Asia, and Europe. The majority (82.28%) were reported by authors in high-income countries, 17.64% were published in middle-income countries, and only 0.08% were published in low-income countries. Authors in the United States published the most articles (27.38%), followed by China (7.22%), Italy (5.70%), the United Kingdom (5.6%), and Japan (5.54%). Articles published by authors in the United States had the most citations (260,934). A positive correlation was found between the number of publications and population/gross domestic product (GDP; p < 0.01). When normalised to population size, the ranking for the most publications was Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands; when normalised to GDI) the ranking was Denmark, Greece, and the Netherlands.

Conclusions: The majority of endocrinology and metabolism articles were published by authors from high-income countries with few from low-income countries. The United States was the most productive country. However, when population size and GDP were considered, some European countries were ranked higher.

(Endokrynol Pol 2015; 66 (5): 434-442)

Key words: endocrinology; metabolism; bibliometric analysis; literature

Streszczenie

Wstęp: Ostatnio pojawiło się wiele znaczących publikacji na temat badań z dziedziny endokrynologii i metabolizmu. Narodowy wkład na tym polu został jednak pominięty. Celem niniejszego badania była ocena krajowych badań w dziedzinie endokrynologii i metabolizmu.

Materiał i metody: Wyszukiwanie za pomocą Web of Science przeprowadzono z wykorzystaniem kategorii podmiotowych „endokrynologia i metabolizm”, aby zidentyfikować artykuły opublikowane w latach 2010-2014. Analizie poddano łączną liczbę artykułów i cytowań, a także ich liczbę przypadającą na osobę w odniesieniu do różnych krajów.

Wyniki: W latach 2010-2014 opublikowano łącznie 79 394 artykułów na temat endokrynologii i metabolizmu. Większość artykułów pochodziła z Ameryki Północnej, Azji Wschodniej i Europy. Większość artykułów (82,28%) napisali autorzy z krajów o wysokich dochodach, 17,64% opublikowano w krajach średnio zamożnych, a jedynie 0,08% artykułów opublikowano w krajach o niskich dochodach. Najwięcej artykułów publikowali autorzy ze Stanów Zjednoczonych (27,38%), następnie z Chin (7,22%), Wioch (5,70%), Wielkiej Brytanii (5,6%) i Japonii (5,54%). Prace publikowane przez amerykańskich autorów zawierały największą liczbę cytowań (260 934). Stwierdzono pozytywny związek między liczbą publikacji i populacją/produktem krajowym brutto (PKB; p < 0,01). Po unormalizowaniu do liczebności populacji, w rankingu krajów o najwyższej liczbie publikacji znalazły się Dania, Szwecja oraz Holandia. Gdy znormalizowano wyniki pod względem PKB, w rankingu znalazły się Dania, Grecja oraz Holandia.

Wnioski: Większość artykułów z dziedziny endokrynologii i metabolizmu została opublikowana przez autorów z krajów o wysokich dochodach; w krajach o niskich dochodach ukazało się niewiele artykułów. Stany Zjednoczone wykazały największą produktywność, jednak kiedy brano pod uwagę liczebność populacji i PKB, niektóre kraje europejskie zajmowały wyższą pozycję.

(Endokrynol Pol 2015; 66 (5): 434-442)

Słowa kluczowe: endokrynologia; metabolizm; analiza bibliometryczna; literatura

This work was supported by the National „Twelfth Tive-Year” Plan for Science & Technology (2013BAI02B10).

Introduction

In recent years, tire field of endocrinology and metabolism have grown significantly [1, 2]. This has been a worldwide effort; however, some countries have contributed more than others. It should not be expected that each country produce tire same amount of publications because different countries have very different capabilities in terms of financial research resources, scientific research programs, and established healthcare systems [3, 4].

Scientific progress can be assessed according to the number of publications that are produced by scientific research groups. Progress in the field of endocrinology and metabolism worldwide can be analysed by assessing the numbers of publications produced by authors in different countries. Also, bibliometric analysis can be used to investigate trends in scholarly publications and the relative importance of articles on a specific topic. Bibliometric analysis has been used to determine national contributions to research fields including oncology [4], cardiovascular disease [5], rheumatology [6], nutrition and dietetics [7], diabetic retinopathy [8], emergency medicine [9], critical care medicine [10], anaesthesia [11], plastic and reconstructive surgery [12], foot and ankle research [13], and arthroscopy [14].

Research productivity in the field of endocrinology and metabolism, however, has not been assessed to date. The aim of this study was to analyse research productivity worldwide to uncover national differences in contributions to the study of endocrinology and metabolism from 2010 to 2014.

Material and methods

In Journal Citation Reports (JCR) for the year 2013 established by the Institute for Scientific Information [15] a total of 124 journals in the subject categories of „endocrinology & metabolism” were included in this study (Supplement 1).

The Web of Science database was searched on 8 April 2015 to identify publications in the field of endocrinology and metabolism. The Web of Science is the world’s leading database for scientific publications, and citations and other academic impact information is included in this database, which makes it a widely used source for studies on scientific productivity [7-10, 12]. Articles published in 124 journals from January 2010 to December 2014 were identified. The search was conducted for original articles and reviews, and articles that were letters, editorials, or corrections were excluded. The titles of the journals were used to perform a literature search in Web of Science. For each article, tire source nation was considered as the nation of the institutional affiliation, unless there was more than one institution, in which case the institution of the corresponding authors was considered as the source nation.

Quantification of research productivity was based on the number of published articles. The total number of citations of some articles was a quality indicator. The primary outcome of the study was the number of original articles originating from each country. Countries were then ranked according to their productivity as expressed by the number of publications. Countries were labelled as high income, upper middle income, lower middle income, and low income according to the categories set by the World Bank [16]. Gross national income per capita determined the income levels, and $12,746 or more was considered high income, $4,125 to $12,745 was considered upper middle income, $1,046 to $4,125 was considered lower middle income, and $1,045 or less was considered low income. The percentages of articles for each category were then calculated.

Countries producing at least 1% of the total publications were considered as the main productive countries, and further analysis of these countries was performed including the total number of publications, publications per capita, total citations (the number of articles multiplied by the number of citations), and the mean citation number. Statistics on population sizes and gross domestic product (GDP) from the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States and the Word Bank for the most recent report were used in the study [17]. The top five countries in terms of publications and the top five journals were listed.

Since we were not employing hypothesis testing but were only describing trends, only descriptive statistics were used, e.g. sum, average, and percentage. A Spearman’s test was used for correlation analysis [10, 13, 14], SPSS version 19.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IT, USA) was used for all statistical analyses and p < 0.05 was considered as significant.

Results

In the years 2010-2014 the total number articles on endocrinology and metabolism identified in the database of Web of Science was 79,394. In 2010 14,905 articles were published, and in 2014 16,201 articles were published. This was a 1.09-fold increase in the publication rate.

Based on the number of publications, 124 countries contributed to the science of endocrinology and metabolism. Authors in the United States published the most articles (21,740/79,394, or 27.38%), authors in China published the second most (5,736/79,394, or 7.22%), and this was followed by Italy (4,529/79,394, or 5.70%), the United Kingdom (4,446/79,394, or 5.60%), and Japan (4,397/79,394, or 5.54%). Figure 1 shows the productive regions on a world map, and North America, East Asia, and Europe are clearly most prominent. A total of 65,323 (82.28%) articles were published in high-income countries, 14,006 (17.64%) articles were published in high middle- and low middle-income countries combined, and only 65 (0.08%) articles were published in low-income countries (Fig. 2). There was a significant correlation (p < 0.01) between the number of publications and population size and GDP (r = 0.442 and r = 0.834, respectively, Fig. 3).

Figure 1. World map of the worldwide research productivity 2010 to 2014
Rycina 1. Mapa świata ukazująca światową produktywność badań w latach 2010-2014

Figure 2. Publications grouped by gross national income 2010 to 2014
Rycina 2. Publikacje pogrupowane według produktu krajowego brutto w latach 2010-2014

Figure 3. Scatter plot showing the association of publication activity in the field of endocrinology and metabolism with population and GDP from different countries
Rycina 3. Wykres punktowy ilustrujący związek aktywności publikacji w dziedzinie endokrynologii i metabolizmu z populacją í PKB dla różnych krajów

Twenty-one countries were seen as main productive countries (producing at least 1% of the total number of articles). These 21 countries published 70,782 of the 79,394 (89.15%) articles (Table I). Of all the main productive countries, the United States had the highest number of citations (260,934); the United Kingdom had 52,068 citations, and Italy had 37,340 citations. Regarding the mean number of citations, the ranking was as follows: the United States (12), the United Kingdom (11.71), and Switzerland (11.67). Most of the articles had authors from high-income countries (17). Upper middle-income countries were the second, twelfth, and sixteenth (China, Brazil, and Turkey, respectively) ranked nations. India, which is a lower middle-income country, was the 18th ranked nation.

Table I. Publications in the most productive countries 2010 to 2014
Tabela I. Publikacje w najbardziej produktywnych krajach od 2010 do 2014 roku

Country N % N per million population N per 10 billion US $ GDP Total citation Mean citation
USA 21740 27.38% 68.17 12.94 260934 12.00
China 5736 7.22% 4.16 6.03 32920 5.74
Italy 4529 5.70% 73.43 21.87 37340 8.24
UK 4446 5.60% 69.75 17.63 52068 11.71
Japan 4397 5.54% 34.59 8.97 28894 6.57
Germany 4158 5.24% 51.34 11.44 37052 8.91
Canada 3193 4.02% 91.66 17.48 30757 9.63
France 2774 3.49% 41.87 10.14 22885 8.25
Australia 2538 3.20% 112.76 16.26 28165 11.10
Netherlands 2143 2.70% 126.97 26.78 23657 11.04
Spain 2117 2.67% 44.35 15.59 18524 8.75
Brazil 2099 2.64% 10.36 9.35 9458 4.51
South Korea 1754 2.21% 35.77 13.45 11686 6.66
Sweden 1483 1.87% 152.51 26.53 14832 10.00
Denmark 1392 1.75% 249.95 42.10 13952 10.02
Turkey 1307 1.65% 16.01 15.94 4697 3.59
Poland 1277 1.61% 33.30 24.67 4425 3.47
India 1240 1.56% 1.00 6.61 6551 5.28
Switzerland 841 1.06% 104.32 12.93 9811 11.67
Greece 825 1.04% 76.56 34.13 5056 6.13
Belgium 793 1.00% 75.89 15.61 9193 11.59

N – number, GDP – gross domestic product

Denmark produced the highest number of publications per million population (249.95), Sweden had 152.51 publications per million population, and the Netherlands had 126.97. When GDP was considered, Denmark ranked the highest with 42.10 publications, Greece had 34.13, and the Netherlands had 26.78. After adjustment for GDP, the United States, China, and Japan ranked relatively low, even though they have large economies.

Table II shows the publications from the five top ranked countries. The most popular journal for the United States was the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism·, the most popular journal for China was Biological trace Element Research, and the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation was popular in Italy. The journal Diabetic Medicine was the most popular in the United Kingdom, and Endocrine Journal was popular in Japan. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism was popular in three of the top five countries.

Table II. Ranking journals in the top 5 countries
Tabela II. Ranking czasopism w pięciu krajach zajmujących najwyższe pozycje w rankingu

Rank United States (21740) China (5736) Italy (4529) UK (4446) Japan (4397)
1 JCEM (1375) Biol Trace Elem Res (566) J Endocrinol Invest (367) Diabetic Med (332) Endocr J (472)
2 Endocrinology (1085) Diabetes Res Clin Pr (220) JCEM (288) JCEM (285) J Endocrinol Invest (246)
3 Obesity (1078) Free Radical Bio Med (200) Nutr Metab Cardiovas (256) Clin Endocrinol (195) Endocrinology (193)
4 Diabetes Care (1053) Endocrine (179) J Biol Reg Homeos Ag (240) Diabetológia (194) J Bone Miner Metab (166)
5 Diabetes (812) Mol Cell Endocrinol (163) Eur J Endocrinol (182) Diabetes Care (185) Gen Comp Endocr (148)

JCEM – Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; Biol Trace Elem Res – Biological Trace Element Research; Diabetes Res Clin Pr – Diabetes Research And Clinical Practice; Free Radical Bio Med – Free Radical Biology And Medicine; Mol Cell Endocrinol – Molecular And Cellular Endocrinology; J Endocrinol Invest – Journal Of Endocrinological Investigation; Nutr Metab Cardiovas – Nutrition Metabolism And Cardiovascular Diseases;J Biol Reg Homeos Ag – Journal Of Biological Regulators And Homeostatic Agents; Eur J Endocrinol – European Journal Of Endocrinology; Diabetic Med – Diabetic Medicine; Clin Endocrinol – Clinical Endocrinology; Endocr J – Endocrine Journal; J Bone Miner Metab – Journal Of Bone And Mineral Metabolism; Gen Comp Endocr – General And Comparative Endocrinology; UK – United Kingdom

The top five journals and the five most productive countries are listed in Table III. Regarding publication in the top five journals, the United States was most productive. Also, the United States was one of the top five countries represented in the top five journals. The United Kingdom was one of the top five countries represented in four of the five top journals, and Italy was represented in three of the five top journals.

Table III. Top 5 countries in the top 5 journals
Tabela III. Ranking krajów według pięciu najlepszych czasopism

Rank JCEM (3895) Diabetes Care (2476) Endocrinology (2467) Free Radical Bio Med (2013) Obesity (1895)
1 United States (1375) United States (1053) United States (1085) United States (770) United States (1078)
2 Italy (288) United Kingdom (185) Japan (193) China (200) Canada(89)
3 United Kingdom (285) Italy (146) Canada (168) Italy (90) United Kingdom (71)
4 France (210) Netherlands (113) United Kingdom (138) Japan (89) Australia (70)
5 Netherlands (205) Canada (111) Australia (125) Germany (81 ) Netherlands (67)

JCEM – Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; Free Radical Bio Med – Free Radical Biology And Medicine

Discussion

Developments in science and technology have produced great advances in the field of endocrinology and metabolism, and the scientific contributions to this advancement have been from researchers throughout the world. Scientific publications report new knowledge in the field and also indicate the productivity of the researchers. Bibliometric methods can be used to evaluate research productivity, and contributions from various areas in the world can be assessed [4-14]. Our study was the first to use bibliometric evaluation to analyse the contributions of various countries to research in endocrinology and metabolism.

We found that authors in the United States published the greatest number of articles on endocrinology and metabolism compared to other countries. This result indicates that the United States plays an important role in scientific endeavours on endocrinology and metabolism. The United States has been a leader in biomedical research for decades, including endocrinology metabolism as well as other subfields in biomedical research [9-14].

In addition to producing the most articles overall, articles from the United States have the most citations (260,934) of endocrinology and metabolism publications, as well as one of the highest mean number of citations (12). This suggests that the United States is very productive but also produces high quality publications. The per capita number of articles produced in the United States is also very high (68.17 per million persons). The results of our study demonstrated that the United States is the most productive country in the world in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

A „10/90” divide has been used to describe the ratio of contributions from non-high- versus high-income countries [18]. This ratio has been identified in many medical fields [9-12]. In our study, we found a slightly higher proportion for middle-income countries. This difference may be attributed to four middle-income countries, i.e. China, Brazil, Turkey, and India [5, 9, 11]. An increasing importance in biomedical research has been recognised for these countries [9, 11, 19, 20]. The significant development that has occurred in these middle-income countries should be recognised [9, 11]. With further economic development, these countries could improve their rank in the future by improving their endocrinology and metabolism research. Government policy, poor medical infrastructure, lack of research funds, and few researchers may be the root causes of poor research productivity in endocrinology and metabolism in low-income countries, which only produced 65 articles during the period of this study.

Some European countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Greece, were seen to be very productive when the results were normalised to population size and GDE The productive countries are nearly all developed. Although China is the second productive country in the number of total articles, the number per million population is rather small, which is followed by India. This indicates that the relative productivity remains very low in these countries and further growth is needed. It may be more informative to normalise by the number of researchers in each country rather than population size, but it is very difficult to obtain information on the number of researchers in the field of endocrinology and metabolism in each country.

For the five top ranked countries, the most popular journal in the United States was the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, for Italy it was the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, for the United Kingdom it was Diabetic Medicine, and for Japan it was Endocrine Journal. Each of these journals is published in the associated country, which means that there are probably more submissions from researchers in that country. Both the United States and the United Kingdom were represented at least four times as of the top five countries in the top five journals. This indicated the influence of these countries in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

This study had some limitations. The first limitation is the inclusion of medical journals based on JCR criteria. Non-JCR-cited journals were not included in the article search, even though non-JCR-cited journal articles contributed to scientific production. Second, basic science and general internal medicine journals in categories of the JCR other than „endocrinology & metabolism” may have published endocrinology and metabolism-related articles, but they were not included in this study. However, our bibliometric analysis included 124 endocrinology and metabolism journals, and these journals represent the major journals reporting research in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.

Conclusions

In summary, we evaluated the national research productivity in the field of endocrinology and metabolism during a five-year recent period in this study. The results of the present study showed that the majority of publications were published by high-income countries, while relatively few publications were from low-income countries. When considering the number of publications produced overall, the United States is the most productive country in the world regarding endocrinology and metabolism. However, when the results were normalised to population size and GDP, some European countries might be considered to be more productive.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Zhiwei Jia and Yaohong Wu from the Navy General Hospital, Beijing, China for modifying the manuscript.

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Supplement 1. List of considered journals under the topic heading „endocrinology & metabolism” on Web of Science
Suplement 1. Lista rozpatrywanych czasopism pod względem nagłówka tematycznego „endokrynologia i metabolizm” w Web of Science

Journals
Acta Diabetologica Hormones and Behavior Hormones-International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Acta Endocrinologica-Bucharest International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries
Aging Male International Journal of Endocrinology
American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism International Journal of Obesity
Annales D Endocrinologie Islets
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism
Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia e Metabologia Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Biofactors Journal of Clinical Densitometry
Biological Trace Element Research Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Et Metabolism
BMC Endocrine Disorders Journal of Diabetes
Bone Journal of Diabetes and its Complications
Calcified Tissue International Journal of Diabetes Investigation
Canadian Journal of Diabetes Journal of Diabetes Research
Cardiovascular Diabetology Journal of Endocrinological Investigation
Cell Metabolism Journal of Endocrinology
Clinical Endocrinology Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C-Toxicology & Pharmacology Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Correspondances en Metabolismes Hormones Diabetes et Nutrition Current Diabetes Reports Journal of Molecular Endocrinology
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care Journal of Neuroendocrinology
Current Opinion in Endocrinology Diabetes and Obesity Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism
Current Opinion in Lipidology Journal of Pineal Research
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Diabetes Care Magnesium Research
Diabetes Educator Metabolic Brain Disease
Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental
Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice Metabolomics
Diabetes Stoffwechsel und Herz Minerva Endocrinologica
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Diabetes Molecular Endocrinology
Diabetes-Metabolism Research and Reviews Nature Reviews Endocrinology
Diabetic Medicine Neuroendocrinology Letters
Diabetologe Neuroendocrinology
Diabetologia Neuroimmunomodulation
Diabetologie und Stoffwechsel Neuropeptides
Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome Nutrition & Diabetes
Domestic Animal Endocrinology Nutrition Clinique et Metabolisme
Endocrine Journal Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Endocrine Pathology Obesity and Metabolism-Milan
Endocrine Practice Obesity Facts
Endocrine Research Obesity Research & Clinical Practice
Endocrine Reviews Obesity Reviews
Endocrine Obesity
Endocrine-Related Cancer Osteoporosis International
Endocrinology Pediatric Diabetes
Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America Pituitary
Endokrynologia Polska Primary Care Diabetes
European Journal of Endocrinology Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes Prostate
Experimental Diabetes Research Psychoneuroendocrinology
Free Radical Biology and Medicine Regulatory Peptides
Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology
Frontiers of Hormone Research Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders
General and Comparative Endocrinology Steroids
Growth Factors Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress
Growth Hormone & IGF Research Thyroid
Gynecological Endocrinology Trace Elements and Electrolytes
Hormone and Metabolic Research Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Hormone Research in Paediatrics Vitamins and Hormones

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