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Open Access Correspondence

Recent trends in publication of basic science and clinical research by United States investigators in anesthesia journals

Paul S Pagel13* and Judith A Hudetz2

Author Affiliations

1 Professor of Anesthesiology, the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 5000 West National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA

2 Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 5000 West National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA

3 Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Anesthesia Service, 5000, W. National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA

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BMC Anesthesiology 2012, 12:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-12-5

Published: 22 March 2012

Abstract

Background

United States anesthesia research production declined sharply from 1980-2005. Whether this trend has continued despite recent calls to improve output is unknown. We conducted an observational internet analysis to quantify American basic science and clinical anesthesia research output in 14 anesthesia journals with impact factors greater than one at three-year intervals during the past decade.

Results

American investigators published 1,486 (21.7%) of the total of 6,845 research articles identified in anesthesia journals in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. Approximately two-thirds of all US articles were published in Anesthesiology and Anesthesia and Analgesia. There was a significant correlation (r2 = 0.316; P = 0.036) between the number of articles published by American authors in each anesthesia journal and the corresponding journal's impact factor in 2010. Significantly (P < 0.05; Pearson's Chi-square) fewer basic science articles were published in 2007 and 2010 compared with 2001. US clinical research output also declined in 2007 (201; 15.7%) compared with 2001 (266; 19.1%) and 2004, but an increase occurred in 2010 (279; 21.8%, P < 0.05 versus 2007).

Conclusions

The results indicate that US anesthesia research output continued to decrease from 2001 to 2007. An increase in clinical but not basic science research was observed in 2010 compared with 2007, suggesting that a modest recovery in clinical research production may have begun.

Keywords:
Anesthesia journals; Bibliometrics; Research; Scholarship; Scientific publication