Journal Information
Vol. 92. Issue 3.
Pages 172.e1-172.e12 (01 March 2020)
Visits
...
Vol. 92. Issue 3.
Pages 172.e1-172.e12 (01 March 2020)
Spanish Association of Paediatrics
DOI: 10.1016/j.anpede.2019.12.002
Open Access
Scientific impact and bibliometric contextualisation of paediatrics compared to other specialities
Impacto científico y contextualización bibliométrica de la Pediatría respecto a otras áreas temáticas
Visits
...
Adolfo Alonso-Arroyoa, Javier González de Diosb,c,d, Cristina Calvoe,f,g,h,i,j, Ángeles Calduch-Losak, Rafael Aleixandre-Benaventl,m,
Corresponding author
Rafael.aleixandre@uv.es

Corresponding author.
a Departamento de Historia de la Ciencia y Documentación, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain
b Departamento de Pediatría, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain
c Servicio de Pediatría, Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
d ISABIAL-Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
e Servicio de Pediatría, Enfermedades Infecciosas y Tropicales, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Fundación IdiPaz, Madrid, Spain
f Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio, Madrid, Spain
g RETIC SAMID Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
h Red de Ensayos Clínicos en Pediatría (RECLIP), Spain
i Red de Investigación Translacional en Infectología Pediátrica (RITIP), Spain
j Plataforma de Investigación INVEST-AEP, Spain
k Departamento Estadística e Investigación Operativa Aplicadas y Calidad, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
l UISYS, Unidad Mixta de Investigación, Universitat de València-CSIC, Valencia, Spain
m Instituto de Gestión de la Innovación y del Conocimiento-Ingenio (CSIC-Universitat Politècnica de València), Valencia, Spain
Article information
Abstract
Full Text
Bibliography
Download PDF
Statistics
Figures (2)
Tables (5)
Table 1. Specialties and subject categories under study.
Table 2. Output, citation and impact indicators by subject category.
Table 3. Citation-related indicators of the most cited article in each subject area.
Table 4. International collaboration of the 5 journals with the highest impact by subject category.
Table 5. Indicators for Spanish journals in the 21 subjects included in the analysis.
Show moreShow less
Abstract
Introduction

The purpose of this paper is twofold. On the one hand, to identify and characterise the indicators of production, citation, impact and collaboration of the Pediatrics area of the Journal Citation Reports, and on the other, to place the journal Anales de Pediatría in the context of the Spanish journals of another twenty areas and medical specialties.

Material and Method

The sources of information used to obtain the indicators were Science Citation Index- Expanded, Journal Citation Reports and Scimago Journal & Country Rank. A regression analysis was performed to check the correlation between the citation and other variables.

Results

Pediatrics ranked 8th in scientific production during the period 2009–2018. In citations per journal it ranks 17th and in the average citations per article it approaches 27, occupying in this case the 18th position. Below Pediatrics are Emergency Medicine, Rehabilitation and Primary Health Care. 12.47% of the articles were not cited. The average impact factor places the area in 18th place and its h index were 197, reaching 14th position and standing above seven other areas. The percentage of works carried out in international collaboration was 17.71%, above Primary Health Care (12.88%), Oncology (16.37%) and Emergency Medicine (17.03%). Among the Spanish journals, Anales de Pediatría was the fourth most productive journal and occupied an intermediate position in terms of the number of citations.

Conclusions

The indicators of citation and impact of the Pediatrics area tend to be above areas such as Emergency Medicine, Primary Health Care, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine and Rehabilitation. Professional practice outside large hospitals, together with poor funding and the low number of clinical trials due to the ethical requirements imposed on studies with children, may be the causes that result in moderate citation and impact indicators.

Keywords:
Bibliometrics
Pediatrics
Scientific collaboration
Citation
Scientific impact
Anales de Pediatría
Resumen
Introducción

El objetivo de este trabajo es doble. Por una parte, identificar y caracterizar los indicadores de producción, citación, impacto y colaboración del área Pediatrics del Journal Citation Reports, y por otra, estudiar a la revista Anales de Pediatría en el contexto de las revistas españolas de otras 20 áreas y especialidades médicas.

Material y método

Las fuentes de información utilizadas para la obtención de los indicadores fueron Science Citation Index-Expanded, Journal Citation Reports y Scimago Journal & Country Rank. Se realizó un análisis de regresión para comprobar la correlación entre la citación y otras variables.

Resultados

Pediatrics ocupó el 8.° lugar en producción científica durante la década 2009–2018. En citas por revista se sitúa en el puesto 17.° y la media de citas por artículo se acerca a las 27, ocupando en este caso el puesto 18.°. Por debajo de Pediatrics se sitúan Emergency Medicine, Rehabilitation y Primary Health Care. El 12,47% de los artículos no fueron citados. El factor de impacto medio la sitúa en el puesto 18.o y su índice h fue 197, alcanzando la posición 14.a y situándose por encima de otras 7 áreas. El porcentaje de trabajos realizados en colaboración internacional fue del 17,71%, por encima de Primary Health Care (12,88%), Oncology (16,37%) y Emergency Medicine (17,03%). Entre las revistas españolas, Anales de Pediatría fue la cuarta revista más productiva y en número de citas ocupó una posición intermedia.

Conclusiones

Los indicadores de citación e impacto del área Pediatrics suelen situarse por encima de áreas como Emergency Medicine, Primary Health Care, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine y Rehabilitation. El ejercicio profesional fuera de los grandes centros hospitalarios, unido a la deficiente financiación y al escaso número de ensayos clínicos debido a las exigencies éticas impuestas a los estudios con población infantil, pueden ser las causas que provocan unos indicadores de citación e impacto moderados.

Palabras clave:
Bibliometría
Pediatría
Colaboración científica
Citación
Impacto científico
Anales de Pediatría
Full Text
Introduction

In the international scientific community, there is broad consensus that the number of citations and other derived indicators (impact indicators) cannot be used to compare subject areas or different specialties for various reasons. On one hand, the size of the field of research influences the number of citations that an article (or journal) may achieve: in a community of 500 researchers, the absolute frequency of citations will be smaller than in a community of 5000 researchers.1,2 On the other, each field of science exhibits different citation patterns. For example, while articles in the fields of biochemistry or social sciences include approximately 30 references each, articles in engineering tend to have 10 references and articles in mathematics 5, and therefore the probability of being cited in the biochemical literature is 6 times greater than the probability of being cited in the mathematical literature. Similar patterns can be found in the medical specialty literature, especially in fields with a smaller “research mass” or in which clinical practice predominates over basic research.3–5

Some of the agencies that evaluate bibliometric performance do not take into account the existing variability between specialties and include all of them in the broader umbrella of Medicine, using citation and impact indicators to compare them, which can be seriously and unfairly damaging to researchers in small or medium-size fields that compete at a disadvantage, as the instruments that evaluate their performance are not adjusted to the characteristics of their fields.

Numerous studies have been published that analyse the current situation, evolution and trends of paediatric research worldwide6–8 and in Spain,9 some of which have focused on paediatric subspecialties and others on specific journals.9–14 A search we did on the subject in the PubMed database in October 2019 with the terms ("Pediatrics"[Mesh]) AND "Bibliometrics"[Mesh]) retrieved 181 articles. However, we did not find studies comparing bibliometric indices in paediatrics with those of other medical specialties, a crucial aspect that we believe should be analysed and discussed, always taking into account the particular characteristics of each field.

The aim of our study was two-fold: on one hand, we aimed to identify and characterize indicators for the output, citation, impact and collaboration in the Journal Citation Reports Pediatrics category, and on the other, to characterize the position of the journal Anales de Pediatría in the context of the Spanish journals in the other 20 medical specialties/categories.

Materials and methods

The source we used to obtain indicators were: the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCI) database of the Web of Science (WoS) for output indicators, the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) for impact indicators, and the Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) (sites that offer information on scientific indicators of journals indexed in the SCI and Scopus databases, respectively) for collaboration indicators. The period we selected to present the indicators in annual or cumulative distributions was the 2009–2018 decade, and we restricted the sample to original articles.

We selected the subject categories related to Paediatrics from the website of the Asociación Española de Pediatría (Spanish Association of Paediatrics [AEP], https://www.aeped.es/especialidades), choosing medical fields associated to any of the 24 paediatric specialty associations affiliated to the AEP. In the end, our study included the subject of Pediatrics and the 20 subject categories listed in Table 1.

Table 1.

Specialties and subject categories under study.

Specialty  Journal Citation Reports subject category 
Allergy  Allergy 
Cardiology  Cardiac & Cardiovascular System 
Intensive Care  Critical Care Medicine 
Paediatric odontology  Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine 
Emergency Medicine  Emergency Medicine 
Endocrinology  Endocrinology & Metabolism 
Gastroenterology  Gastroenterology & Hepatology 
Genetics  Genetics & Heredity 
Haematology  Hematology 
Immunology  Immunology 
Infectious Diseases  Infectious Diseases 
Neurology  Neurosciences 
Oncology  Oncology 
Primary Care  Primary Care Health 
Diagnostic Imaging  Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging 
Rehabilitation  Rehabilitation 
Pulmonology  Respiratory System 
Rheumatology  Rheumatology 
Surgery  Surgery 
Nephrology  Urology & Nephrology 

We structured the study in 2 parts. The first part consisted in the analysis of the Paediatrics subject category in the context of the other 20 medical specialties. In the second part, we analysed Anales de Pediatría in comparison with the other Spanish journals indexed in the SCI.

We classified indicators into:

  • 1

    Output indicators: number of documents, number of journals per subject and number of documents per journal.

  • 2

    Citation indicators: number of citations, average number of citations per journal, average number of citations per article and number of uncited articles.

  • 3

    Impact indicators: mean impact factor, aggregate impact factor and h-index. We calculated the mean impact factor by dividing the impact factor of all journals in a given category in one year by the number of journals in the category. We calculated the aggregate impact factor in the same way, but using the number of citations and the number of articles in the journals in the category.

  • 4

    Indicators of the most frequently cited articles by subject category.

  • 5

    Indicators of international collaboration. To calculate these indicators, we selected the 5 journals with the highest impact factors (IFs) in 2018 in each JCR Science Edition subject category for the year, and obtained the percentage of international collaboration for each journal from the SJR, which reflects the proportion of documents signed by authors from more than 1 country. We then calculated the mean values for each journal, taking into account the years for which data was available, either for the full 2009–2018 decade or the years following indexation of the journal in the database. Lastly, we calculated the mean of the 5 journals to obtain the indicator for each subject category. We also calculated the interquartile range between the journals with the highest and lowest percentages of international collaboration.

We included Spanish journals based on the hits obtained in a search of the JCR database in 2018 of the 21 subject categories (Pediatrics and the 20 categories listed in Table 1). The search yielded 24 journals, and we obtained indicators similar to those obtained for the subject categories and the number of funded articles. We conducted the searches on September 16, 2019 using computer terminals of the Universitat de València.

We performed the statistical analysis with the software Statgraphics Centurion XVI, calculating the correlations between variables. We also performed logarithmic transformation to normalize the data and obtain regression curves as needed.

ResultsThe Paediatrics subject category in the context of the other 20 medical specialtiesScientific output: number of articles, number of journals per subject category and number of articles per journal

Table 2 presents the distribution of output, citation and impact indicators by subject category, listed in alphabetical order based on the name of the category in the JCR database. The categories corresponding to the greatest number of documents published were Surgery (391 696), followed by Oncology (339 256) and Clinical Neurology (227 585), and the categories with the least documents published were Primary Health Care (13 391), Allergy (19 002) and Cardiac & Cardiovascular System (24 173), while Pediatrics, with 140 555 documents, ranked 8th.

Table 2.

Output, citation and impact indicators by subject category.

Subject categoriesScience Citation Index-Expanded 2009–2018Journal Citation Reports - Science Edition 2009–2018
Scientific output  Uncited documents  % uncited documents  H-index  Mean journals  Articles  Total Cites  Mean articles/journal  Mean cites/journal  Mean cites/article  Mean IF. 10 years  Aggregate IF. 10 years 
Allergy  19 002  1638  8.62%  172  24  23 140  1 018 622  964.17  42 442.58  44.02  2.602  4.233 
Cardiac & Cardiovascular System  24 173  1738  7.19%  134  121  177 259  7 913 852  1462.53  65 295.81  44.65  2.161  4.016 
Clinical Neurology  227 585  19 767  8.69%  303  191  253 133  10 227 791  1328.08  53 661.02  40.40  2.279  3.196 
Critical Care Medicine  43 801  2807  6.41%  226  28  45 564  2 401 421  1604.37  84 557.08  52.70  2.491  4.196 
Dentistry. Oral Surgery & Medicine  82 779  8680  10.49%  143  84  85 457  2 634 051  1019.77  31 432.59  30.82  1.362  1.851 
Emergency Medicine  30 872  5166  16.73%  110  24  32 726  695 403  1346.75  28 617.41  21.25  1.122  1.810 
Endocrinology & Metabolism  146 663  8951  6.10%  282  128  161 003  8 043 674  1262.77  63 087.64  49.96  2.820  4.070 
Gastroenterology & Hepatology  100 873  6544  6.49%  296  76  112 059  5 074 134  1476.40  66 852.89  45.28  2.544  4.086 
Genetics & Heredity  182 766  14 067  7.70%  388  163  187 215  10 190 921  1147.85  62 482.65  54.43  2.546  4.281 
Hematology  90 372  5593  6.19%  265  68  103 678  5 742 366  1520.21  84 198.91  55.39  2.592  4.683 
Immunology  190 608  11 089  5.82%  338  145  214 758  10 974 588  1486.21  75 948.71  51.10  2.923  4.320 
Infectious Diseases  123 950  8288  6.69%  237  75  119 279  4 453 823  1592.51  59 463.59  37.34  2.559  3.611 
Oncology  339 256  24 253  7.15%  443  204  360 731  15 234 288  1768.29  74 677.88  42.23  2.769  4.444 
Pediatrics  140 555  17 528  12.47%  197  117  150 597  4 053 493  1290.46  34 734.30  26.92  1.505  1.989 
Primary Health Care  13 391  1715  12.81%  83  18  12 242  314 834  675.94  17 383.47  25.72  1.534  1.674 
Radiology. Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging  178 817  16 116  9.01%  269  121  184 272  6 325 448  1524.17  52 319.67  34.33  1.830  2.849 
Rehabilitation  49 525  5454  11.01%  127  59  48 403  1 228 965  820.39  20 829.92  25.39  1.448  1.814 
Respiratory System  77 285  6127  7.93%  239  54  79 942  3 505 982  1483.15  65 046.05  43.86  2.461  3.718 
Rheumatology  40 825  2809  6.88%  193  30  46 131  1 892 521  1548.02  63 507.42  41.02  2.583  3.845 
Surgery  391 696  43 925  11.21%  256  196  325 795  9 910 563  1666.47  50 693.42  30.42  1.517  2.257 
Urology & Nephrology  89 967  8959  9.96%  213  74  99 522  3 600 483  1339.46  48 458.72  36.18  1.878  3.032 

When it came to the mean number of journals per subject, we found the highest value in Oncology (204), followed by Surgery (196) and Clinical Neurology (191), while the lowest values corresponded to Primary Health Care (18), Allergy (24) and Emergency Medicine (24). Pediatrics had a mean of 117, which once again placed this subject in an intermediate position (9th) relative to the other subjects considered in the analysis.

Lastly, when we obtained the mean number of articles, we found that the leading journal was Oncology (1768.29), followed by Surgery (1666.47) and Critical Care Medicine (1604.37) while those with the least articles were Primary Health Care (675.94), Rehabilitation (820.39) and Allergy (964.17). Pediatrics ranked 15th with 1290.46 documents.

Citations: number of citations, mean number of citations per journal, mean citations per article and number of uncited articles

Five subject categories neared or exceeded 10 million citations (Oncology, Immunology, Clinical Neurology, Genetics & Heredity and Surgery), while four categories did not reach or barely exceeded 1 million citations (Primary Health Care, Emergency Medicine, Allergy y Rehabilitation). The total number of citations corresponding to documents in the subject of Pediatrics exceeded 4 million (4 053 493), placing this category in the 12th position.

The mean number of citations per journal in the subject of Pediatrics was 34 734.30, placing it in the 17th position, above Primary Health Care, Rehabilitation, Emergency Medicine and Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine. The mean number of citations per article neared 27, and the subject ranked 18th on this factor; Hematology, Genetics & Heredity, Critical Care Medicine, Immunology and Endocrinology & Metabolism neared or exceeded 50 citations per article. The categories that ranked below Pediatrics again included Emergency Medicine, Rehabilitation and Primary Health Care. Fig. 1 presents a comparison of the scientific output and mean number of citations per article for each subject category.

Fig. 1.

Scientific output and mean number of citations per article by subject category.

(0.38MB).

We identified 17 528 uncited articles in the category of Pediatrics, amounting to 12.47% of the total articles. This percentage was only lower compared to Emergency Medicine (16.73%) and Primary Health Care (12.81%). The percentages were lower in the other categories that we analysed, with percentages of around 6% in 7 of them (Immunology, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Hematology, Critical Care Medicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Infectious Diseases and Rheumatology).

Impact: mean and aggregate impact factors and h-index

The mean impact factor of journals in the subject category of Pediatrics (1505) placed this category in the 18th position, and the aggregate impact factor (1989) in the 17th position. Again, the subject categories that ranked below Pediatrics were Emergency Medicine, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine and Rehabilitation when it came to the mean impact factor, and the same in addition to Primary Health Care when it came to the aggregate impact factor.

The relative ranking of Pediatrics improved if the h-index was considered instead (197), achieving the 14th position, above another 7 categories.

Characteristics of the most cited articles

The most cited articles (Table 3) corresponded to the categories of Genetics & Heredity (40 891 citations), Oncology (24 184) and Endocrinology & Metabolism (8716). The most cited article in Pediatrics was cited 1965 times. We found very small differences in the distribution by subject category when we took into account the number of years elapsed since the publication of the articles. The 3 categories with the most cited articles were also the categories with the highest number of articles cited more than 1000 times, led by 85 articles in Oncology and 68 in Genetics & Heredity, compared to only 4 articles in Pediatrics. The categories with the most articles cited more than 500 times were, again, Oncology (335) and Genetics & Heredity (223), followed by Immunology (126). We found 23 such articles in the subject category of Pediatrics. Table S1 in the supplemental materials lists the 10 most-cited articles in each subject category.

Table 3.

Citation-related indicators of the most cited article in each subject area.

Subject category  Cites of most cited article, n  Years elapsed  Mean cites/year  Articles with >1000 cites, n  Articles with >500 cites, n 
Allergy  1186  132 
Cardiac & Cardiovascular System  2983  597  14 
Clinical Neurology  4754  594  20  90 
Critical Care Medicine  4467  745  13  49 
Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine  751  107 
Emergency Medicine  736  82 
Endocrinology & Metabolism  8716  1743  20  82 
Gastroenterology & Hepatology  2162  309  79 
Genetics & Heredity  40 891  5111  68  223 
Hematology  2824  471  44 
Immunology  2824  471  15  126 
Infectious Diseases  2928  418  13  51 
Oncology  24 184  3023  85  335 
Pediatrics  1965  218  23 
Primary Health Care  555  10  56 
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging  4042  1011  13  76 
Rehabilitation  506  10  51 
Respiratory System  3181  398  16  56 
Rheumatology  2802  311  27 
Surgery  2983  597  51 
Urology & Nephrology  2907  10  291  35 
Collaboration

The highest percentage of articles fruit of international collaboration (Table 4) corresponded to Genetics & Heredity (40.34%), followed by Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine (39.53%) and Infectious Diseases (34.37%), while the lowest percentages corresponded to Primary Health Care (12.88%), Oncology (16.37), Emergency Medicine (17.03) and Pediatrics (17.71). Table S2 in the supplemental materials presents detailed information on how these indicators were calculated.

Table 4.

International collaboration of the 5 journals with the highest impact by subject category.

Subject categories  Int. collab. of top 5 journals in Q1 – 2009–2018  Interquartile range 
Allergy  27.77  18.26–42.58 
Cardiac & Cardiovascular System  27.96  12.25–45.20 
Clinical Neurology  31.64  21.63–47.59 
Critical Care Medicine  30.59  18.71–61.49 
Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine  39.53  2.18–60.43 
Emergency Medicine  17.03  3.29–36.46 
Endocrinology & Metabolism  27.58  7.82–38.32 
Gastroenterology & Hepatology  26.69  11.65–35.90 
Genetics & Heredity  40.34  13.36–55.58 
Hematology  32.03  26.91–42.32 
Immunology  29.18  13.45–39.76 
Infectious Diseases  34.37  27.71–39.76 
Oncology  16.37  10.55–23-81 
Pediatrics  17.71  12.63–23.83 
Primary Health Care  12.88  1.65–41.20 
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging  29.36  21.03–43.01 
Rehabilitation  23.98  12.43–32.56 
Respiratory System  27.17  19.76–40.80 
Rheumatology  27.38  12.14–44.04 
Surgery  18.49  7.26–30.51 
Urology & Nephrology  24.60  12.83–37.05 

When we performed a simple regression analysis to assess the association between the percentage of international collaboration and the mean number of citations per article, we found a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.559649 with a p-value of 0.0083. Thus, the analysis revealed a significant, positive linear correlation between these variables and that 31% of the variability in the percentage of collaboration was explained by the variability in the mean number of citations per article. The regression model showed that when the collaboration increased by 1 percentage point, the mean number of citations per article increased by nearly 0.79.

Anales de Pediatría in the context of the other Spanish journals included in the JCR

Table 5 presents several indicators for the 24 Spanish journals included in the JCR under the subject categories analysed in our study. Anales de Pediatría ranked 4th in terms of output (933 articles), outperformed solely by Revista de Neurología (1375), Clinical & Translational Oncology (1299) and Medicina Oral Patología Oral y Cirugía Bucal (1206). When it came to the number of citations, it ranked somewhere in the middle (12th, with 2945 citations). The most cited article was published in 2009, with 37 citations. The percentage of uncited articles was of 21.76%, below the journals in 6 other subject categories, including Urology & Nephrology, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Clinical Neurology, Radiology and Primary Health Care. It ranked 18th based on the h-index, and 21st based on the mean number of citations per article, once again Urology & Nephrology, Endocrinology & Metabolism and Clinical Neurology. The percentage of funded articles did not reach 1%, which was similar to the percentages in other journals such as Neurocirugía, Revista de Neurología or Archivos Españoles de Urología.

Table 5.

Indicators for Spanish journals in the 21 subjects included in the analysis.

Journal  Subject categories  2018 IF  Output in SCI-E 2009–2018  Cites 2009–2018  Cites in most cited article  Uncited docs  % uncited docs  H-index  Mean cites/doc  Unfunded docs  Funded docs  % funded docs 
Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology  Allergy / Immunology  3.802  520  6511  178 (2011)  32  6.15%  33  12.52  281  239  45.96% 
Allergologia et Immunopathologia  Allergy / Immunology  1.640  577  3487  208 (2013)  63  10.92%  20  6.04  379  198  34.32% 
Revista Española de Cardiología  Cardiac & Cardiovascular System  5.126  890  10 802  128 (2011)  42  4.72%  39  12.14  638  252  28.31% 
Neurología  Clinical Neurology  2.038  478  2430  40 (2011)  69  14.44%  19  5.08  473  98.95% 
Neurocirugía  Clinical Neurology / Surgery  0.519  336  1055  59 (2009)  90  26.79%  13  3.14  333  0.89% 
Revista de Neurología  Clinical Neurology  0.485  1 375  4687  57 (2011)  360  26.18%  19  3.41  1361  14  1.02% 
Medicina Intensiva  Critical Care Medicine  1.982  501  2761  50 (2013)  43  8.58%  19  5.51  466  35  6.99% 
Medicina Oral Patología Oral y Cirugía Bucal  Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine  1.284  1 206  10 939  102 (2009)  101  8.37%  36  9.07  930  276  22.89% 
Emergencias  Emergency Medicine  3.350  454  2796  89 (2010)  93  20.48%  25  6.16  SD  SD  SD 
Endocrinología y Nutrición  Endocrinology & Metabolism  1.649  170  802  37 (2014)  21  12.35%  13  4.72  136  34  20.00% 
Endocrinología Diabetes y Nutrición  Endocrinology & Metabolism  0.934  113  143  8 (2017)  45  39.82%  1.27  95  18  15.93% 
Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas  Gastroenterology & Hepatology  1.858  766  4470  61 (2013)  141  18.41%  24  5.84  682  84  10.97% 
Gastroenterología y Hepatología  Gastroenterology & Hepatology  1.126  528  1809  31 (2012)  109  20.64%  15  3.43  502  26  4.92% 
Aids Reviews  Immunology / Infectious Diseases  2.357  69  1032  108 (2011)  5.80%  18  14.96  33  36  52.17% 
Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología Clínica  Infectious Diseases  1.685  821  4486  58 (2011)  112  13.64%  23  5.46  692  129  15.71% 
Clinical & Translational Oncology  Oncology  2.441  1 299  11 207  174 (2010)  94  7.24%  35  8.63  762  537  41.34% 
Anales de Pediatría  Pediatrics  1.166  933  2945  37 (2009)  203  21.76%  15  3.16  926  0.75% 
Atención Primaria  Primary Health Care  1.346  677  2610  49 (2010)  150  22.16%  18  3.86  662  15  2.22% 
Revista Española de Medicina Nuclear e Imagen Molecular  Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging  0.928  363  1193  26 (2012)  90  24.79%  12  3.29  343  20  5.51% 
Archivos de Bronconeumología  Respiratory System  4.214  622  5869  168 (2012)  52  8.36%  29  9.44  610  12  1.93% 
Cirugía Española  Surgery  0.835  642  2689  60 (2014)  121  18.85%  18  4.19  SD  SD  SD 
Nefrología  Urology & Nephrology  1.439  655  3580  154 (2010)  100  15.27%  21  5.47  615  40  6.11% 
Actas Urológicas Españolas  Urology & Nephrology  1.136  851  3611  68 (2011)  140  16.45%  19  4.24  848  0.35% 
Archivos Españoles de Urología  Urology & Nephrology  0.335  680  817  25 (2014)  337  49.56%  1.20  672  1.18% 

Fig. 2 presents a graphical comparison of the scientific output and mean number of citations per article of the Spanish journals.

Fig. 2.

Scientific output and mean number of citations per article of the Spanish journals.

(0.45MB).

When we analysed the percentage of funded articles relative to the percentage of uncited articles, we found a correlation coefficient of –0.5632, which was negative, of intermediate value and significant, and suggested that the greater the percentage of funded articles, the lower the percentage of uncited articles. In the case of Anales de Pediatría, despite a low percentage of funded articles, the percentage of uncited articles was lower than would be expected based on the regression model.

Discussion

This study allowed us to establish the ranking of global and Spanish paediatrics publications in absolute terms and in relation to other subjects based on a selected set of output, citation, impact and collaboration indicators. The sources used for the purpose were the WoS SCI and JCR databases, supplemented with information from the SJR. We obtained some of the indicators directly from these sources and calculated the rest. To make comparisons with other fields, we chose the 20 subjects covered by the “specialty associations” affiliated to the Asociación Española de Pediatría (https://www.aeped.es/especialidades).

As we previously discussed, in absolute terms the subject category of Pediatrics held an intermediate position in relation to the other categories, both in the mean number of journals and in its output (ranking 9th in both) and in terms of citations (ranking 12th). However, taking into account other relative indicators, such as the mean number of citations per journal or the percentage of uncited articles, it ranks 17th and 19th, respectively. We found a similar trend in the mean and aggregate impact factors, which placed Pediatrics in the 18th and 17th positions, respectively.

In most citation-related indicators, the Pediatrics category usually ranked higher than 2 other categories (Emergency Medicine and Primary Health Care), and it also outperformed another 2 categories in other indicators (Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine and Rehabilitation). The analysis of the most cited documents yielded a perspective that was similar to the perspective obtained with other citation-based indicators, placing Pediatrics above the same specialties.

A finding worth highlighting is that the h-index for Pediatrics ranked this category above not only the 4 specialties we already mentioned, but also above others such as Cardiac & Cardiovascular System, Allergy and Rheumatology. However, this indicator is not the most suitable to compare different research fields, as it does not take into account the differences in the patterns of publication and citation between fields. The h-index is high in subjects with a long research tradition.15,16

Collaboration is a key factor in research. The multidisciplinary, technical and complex nature of biomedical research requires teamwork, and its maximum expression is the formation of international teams for the development of collaborative international projects such as multicentre trials.17–19 In the category of Pediatrics, international collaboration occurred in nearly 18% of the articles, a percentage that once again outperformed Emergency Medicine and Primary Health Care, and, in this case, also Oncology. There is evidence that clinical trials conducted through collaborative networks give rise to articles with high numbers of citations and published in high-impact journals.20,21 The regression analysis showed that international collaboration was associated with a higher mean number of citations per article.

Compared to other Spanish journals indexed in SCI, Anales de Pediatría is one of the most productive journals and occupies an intermediate position based on the number of citations. The mean number of citations per article is not high, but it is above the mean for specialties such as Urology & Nephrology, Endocrinology & Metabolism and Clinical Neurology.

One of the possible explanations of the position of Pediatrics relative to other subject categories is the dearth of published paediatric randomised controlled trials. Clinical trials in children are affected by numerous methodological, ethical and economic barriers in meeting quality standards, which hinders their performance. On the other hand, the marketing authorisation of drugs distributed in Europe included evidence from paediatric clinical trials in only 30% of drugs.22 Initiatives such as the Global Research in Paediatric (GRiP) project, aimed at the research and development of safe and effective drugs for children and launched under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission, may contribute to improving this situation. In this context, Salim et al. found that, following the trend observed in other medical specialties, there has been a significant increase in recent years in the publication of systematic reviews in paediatric surgery, although their quality has been poor.23

Paediatric diseases are often rare and may only affect a small number of patients, and therefore it may be necessary to develop research networks and perform multicentre studies to obtain significant results. In this regard, there has been a substantial increase in collaborative projects and in the development of paediatrics research networks in recent years, but it is still too soon to evaluate the results and necessary to continue to develop these initiatives.

On the other hand, a high percentage of paediatricians carry out their work at the outpatient level outside hospitals with scarce resources and far from larger health care facilities that are better equipped, which means they produce less research, as their circumstances are less advantageous compared to medical professionals in other fields that are mainly hospital-based or involve basic research.

To improve the quality of paediatrics research and with it citation and impact indicators, it would be worth promoting training in research methods to provide these specialists with the skills required to design and participate in paediatric clinical trials.24–26 Holland et al. found that each additional year of training in research methods in a national child health institute in the United States was associated with a 15% increase in the h-index.27 A key point in this process is to facilitate the collaboration and pooling of resources between academics, health care providers, regulatory agencies and industry at both the national and international levels. At the same time, governments and educational institutions should provide an appropriate framework to reward companies that invest in paediatric research.

There is no question that since this is a multifactorial problem, it is challenging to identify every necessary improvement strategy in order to improve the standing of the field of Pediatrics relative to other subjects. Years ago, we performed a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis of the Spanish paediatric research publication output (based on a study of science output metrics for the 2006–2010 period conducted by the Asociación Española de Pediatría),9,28,29 and some of their conclusions as to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can apply to our current discussion.

One of the limitations of this study is that some of the indicators that we used, especially the impact factor, have drawbacks when used as tools for assessing research that have been extensively debated in the literature. Some of the most relevant drawbacks, as discussed above, is that these indicators exhibit significant variability depending on the field of research, that they may be manipulated by editors and the lack of transparency as regards the data used for their calculation.30–32 In this regard, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment recommends against using journal-based metrics, such as the impact factor, as a measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess the contribution of an individual researcher or to guide funding, appointment, and promotion decisions.33

Conclusions

The citation and impact indicators in Pediatrics tended to be lower compared to other subject categories, with the exception of Emergency Medicine, Primary Health Care, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine and Rehabilitation. The various factors mentioned above may contribute to this situation.

Whatever the reason, the final conclusion is clear and was one of the aims of this study: if the agencies that evaluate scientific output do not take this inter-specialty variability into account and place all of these journals in the broader subject of Medicine, the category of Pediatrics (and, therefore, paediatricians) is at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for grants and competing for national and international funding, which constitutes a vicious cycle that will be difficult to overcome.

References
[1]
R. Aleixandre-Benavent, J. González de Dios, L. Castelló Cogollos, C. Navarro Molina, A. Alonso-Arroyo, A. Vidal-Infer, et al.
Bibliometría e indicadores de actividad científica (III). Indicadores de impacto basados en las citas (1).
Acta Pediatr Esp, 75 (2017), pp. e75-e84
[2]
P. Dorta-González, M.I. Dorta-González.
Comparing journals from different fields of science and social science through a JCR subject subject categories normalized impact factor.
Scientometrics, 95 (2003), pp. 645-672
[3]
V. Durieux, P.A. Gevenois.
Bibliometric indicators: quality measurements of scientific publication.
Radiology, 255 (2010), pp. 342-351
[4]
L. Waltman.
A review of the literature on citation impact indicators.
J Informetr, 10 (2016), pp. 365-391
[5]
P. Albarrán, I. Ortuño, J. Ruiz-Castillo.
High-and low-impact citation measures: empirical applications.
J Informetr, 5 (2011), pp. 122-145
[6]
J.K. Silver, J.A. Poorman, J.M. Reilly, N.D. Spector, R. Goldstein, R.D. Zafonte.
Assessment of women physicians among authors of perspective-type articles published in high-impact pediatric journals.
JAMA Netw Open, 1 (2018),
[7]
M.M. Tschudy, T.L. Rowe, G.J. Dover, T.L. Cheng.
Pediatric academic productivity: pediatric benchmarks for the h- and g-indices.
J Pediatr, 169 (2016), pp. 272-276
[8]
J. Završnik, P. Kokol, S. Del Torso, H. Blažun Vošner.
Citation context and impact of’ sleeping beauties’ in paediatric research.
J Int Med Res, 44 (2016), pp. 1212-1221
[9]
A. Alonso-Arroyo, J. González de Dios, M. Bolaños-Pizarro, L. Castelló-Cogollos, G. González-Alcaide, C. Navarro-Molina, et al.
Análisis de la productividad e impacto de la pediatría española (2006-2010).
An Pediatr (Barc)., 78 (2013), pp. 409
[10]
J. González de Dios, A. Alonso-Arroyo, R. Aleixandre-Benavent, Medio siglo de ANALES DE PEDIATRÍA.
Evolucion de sus principales indicadores bibliométricos en las bases de datos internacionales Web of Science y Scopus.
An Pediatr (Barc), 90 (2019), pp. 194
[11]
J. González de Dios.
Anales Españoles de Pediatría 2001: evolución de los indicadores bibliométricos de calidad científica.
An Pediatr (Barc), 57 (2002), pp. 141-151
[12]
G. González Alcaide, J.C. Valderrama Zurián, R. Aleixandre Benavent, J. González de Dios.
Investigación pediátrica española en Anales de Pediatría: grupos y áreas de investigación (2003-2009).
An Pediatr (Barc), 74 (2011), pp. 239-254
[13]
M.F. Abad-García, A. González-Teruel, G. Solís Sánchez.
Contribución de Anales de Pediatría a la visibilidad internacional de la investigación pediátrica española en la Web of Science (2010-2014).
An Pediatr (Barc), 85 (2016), pp. 305-311
[14]
E.G. Pérez-Yarza, F. Cabañas, O. García-Algar, J. Valverde-Molina.
Anales de Pediatría: ayer, hoy y mañana.
An Pediatr (Barc), 79 (2013), pp. 277-278
[15]
J. Aznar, E. Guerrero.
Análisis del índice h y propuesta de un nuevo índice bibliomátrico: el índice global.
Rev Clin Esp, 211 (2010), pp. 251-256
[16]
R. Costas, M. Bordons.
Una visión crítica del índice h: algunas consideraciones derivadas de su aplicación práctica.
Prof Inf, 16 (2007), pp. 427-432
[17]
A. Meeker-O’Connell, C. Glessner.
Clinical trial quality: From supervision to collaboration and beyond.
Clin Trials, 15 (2018), pp. 23-26
[18]
R.E. Taylor, B.L. Pizer, S. Short.
Promoting collaboration between adult and paediatric clinical trial groups.
Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol), 20 (2008), pp. 714-716
[19]
A.M. Gülmezoglu, T. Pang, R. Horton, K. Dickersin.
WHO facilitates international collaboration in setting standards for clinical trial registration.
Lancet, 365 (2005), pp. 1829-1831
[20]
D.T. McDowell, A. Darani, A. Shun, G. Thomas, A.J.A. Holland.
A bibliometric analysis of pediatric liver transplantation publications.
Pediatr Transplant, 21 (2017),
[21]
K. Choong, M. Duffett, D.J. Cook, A.G. Randolph.
The impact of clinical trials conducted by research networks in pediatric critical care.
Pediatr Crit Care Med, 17 (2016), pp. 837-844
[22]
A. Ceci, M. Felisi, P. Baiardi, F. Bonifazi, M. Catapano, C. Giaquinto, A. Nicolosi, M. Sturkenboom, A. Neubert, I. Wong.
Medicines for children licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA): the balance after 10 years.
Eur J Clin Pharmacol, 62 (2006), pp. 947-952
[23]
A. Salim, D. Mullassery, P.D. Losty.
Quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in pediatric surgery.
J Pediatr Surg, 52 (2017), pp. 1732-1735
[24]
Committee on Pediatric Workforce.
Financing graduate medical education to meet the needs of children and the future pediatrician workforce.
Pediatrics, 137 (2016), pp. e20160211
[25]
A. Chandra, D. Khullar, G.R. Wilensky.
The economics of graduate medical education.
N Engl J Med, 370 (2014), pp. 2357-2360
[26]
B. Vitiello, J.H. Heiligenstein, M.A. Riddle, L.L. Greenhill, J.M. Fegert.
The interface between publicly funded and industry-funded research in pediatric psychopharmacology: opportunities for integration and collaboration.
Biol Psychiatry, 56 (2004), pp. 3-9
[27]
T.L. Holland, K. Kim, C.J. Nobles, Y.L. Lu, I. Seeni, S.L. Mumford, et al.
Length of fellowship training in population health research and long-term bibliometric outcomes.
Epidemiology, 30 (2019), pp. S85-S93
[28]
J. González de Dios, A. Alonso-Arroyo, R. Aleixandre-Benavent, S. Málaga.
Análisis de debilidades, amenzas, fortalezas y oportunidades (DAFO) de la publicación pediátrica española a partir de un estudio cienciométrico.
An Pediatr (Barc), 78 (2013), pp. 351-354
[29]
R. Aleixandre-Benavent, J. González de Dios, A. Alonso-Arroyo, M. Bolaños-Pizarro, L. Castelló-Cogollos, G. González-Alcaide, et al.
Coautoría y redes de colaboración de la pediatría española (2006-2010).
An Pediatr (Barc)., 78 (2013),
[30]
J.K. Vanclay.
Impact factor: outdated artefact or stepping-stone to journal certification.
Scientometric, 92 (2012), pp. 211-238
[31]
The PLoS Medicine Editors. The impact factor game.
[32]
M. Rossner, H. Van Epps, E. Hill.
Show me the data.
J Cell Biol, 179 (2007), pp. 1091-1092
[33]
Declaración de San Francisco sobre la evaluación de la investigación. Citado el 20/12/2019. Disponible en: https://sfdora.org/read/es/.

Please cite this article as: Alonso-Arroyo A, et al. Impacto científico y contextualización bibliométrica de la Pediatría respecto a otras áreas temáticas. An Pediatr (Barc). 2020;92:172–172.e11.

Este artículo ha sido solicitado por la Junta Directiva de la Asociación Española de Pediatría (AEP) y aprobado por la misma, por lo que corresponde a un documento de posicionamiento de la AEP.

Copyright © 2020. Asociación Española de Pediatría
Idiomas
Anales de Pediatría (English Edition)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Article options
Tools
es en

¿Es usted profesional sanitario apto para prescribir o dispensar medicamentos?

Are you a health professional able to prescribe or dispense drugs?