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Open Access Research article

Representation of less-developed countries in Pharmacology journals: an online survey of corresponding authors

Dileep K Rohra

Author Affiliations

Department of Pharmacology, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:60  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-60

Published: 5 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Scientists from less-developed countries (LDC) perceive that it is difficult to publish in international journals from their countries. This online survey was conducted with the primary aim of determining the opinion of corresponding authors of published papers in international Pharmacology journals regarding the difficulties in publications and their possible solutions.

Methods

The titles of all Pharmacology journals were retrieved from Pubmed. 131 journals were included in study. The latest issue of all journals was reviewed thoroughly. An online survey was conducted from the corresponding authors of the published papers who belonged to LDC.

Results

584 out 1919 papers (30.4%) originated from the LDC. 332 responses (response rate; 64.5%) were received from the authors. Approximately 50% the papers from LDC were published in journals with impact factor of less than 2. A weak negative correlation (r = -0.236) was observed between journal impact factor and the percentage of publications emanating from LDC. A significant majority of the corresponding authors (n = 254; 76.5%) perceived that it is difficult to publish in good quality journals from their countries. According to their opinion, biased attitude of editors and reviewers (64.8%) is the most important reason followed by the poor writing skills of the scientists from LDC (52.8%). The authors thought that well-written manuscript (76.1%), improvement in the quality of research (69.9%) and multidisciplinary research (42.9%) are important determinants that may improve the chances of publications.

Conclusions

The LDC are underrepresented in publications in Pharmacology journals. The corresponding authors of the published articles think that biased attitude of the editors as well as the reviewers of international journals and the poor writing skills of scientists are the major factors underlying the non-acceptance of their results. They also think that the improvement in the writing skills and quality of research will increase the chances of acceptance of their works in international journals.