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Correspondence |

Respiratory Research Output FREE TO VIEW

Martyn R. Partridge, MD; Grant Lewison, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Imperial College London London, UK,  Evaluametrics, Ltd. Surrey, UK

Correspondence to: Martyn R. Partridge, Imperial College London, NHLI Division at Charing Cross Hospital, St. Dunstans Rd, London W68RP, UK; e-mail: m.partridge@imperial.ac.uk



Chest. 2006;130(4):1283. doi:10.1378/chest.130.4.1283
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To the Editor:

The article by Michalopoulos and Falagas1(December 2005) draws attention to large-scale research activity in respiratory medicine and to the dominating presence of the United States and western Europe. Contrary to their statement, their article is not the first article to examine respiratory research output. Previous work includes that of Rippon et al,2who examined world output from 1996 to 2001 and the correlation with disease burden, and García-Rio et al,3 who analyzed respiratory medicine output of European Union member states from 1987 to 1998 and compared it with their national products and populations.

The article by Michalopoulos and Falagas1 suffers from two methodologic defects. First, the scientific domain of respiratory medicine is poorly approximated by a set of 30 specialist journals (not listed in the article). We have found that almost three fourths of respiratory medicine research articles are published in general, rather than specialist, journals. They can be identified by means of words in their titles. Failure to apply this method gives a very low recall or sensitivity, and it is likely that some of the 30 journals may generate false-positive results, leading to poor precision or specificity. Indeed, García-Rio et al3 commented that their 38 “respiratory” journals also included quite a lot of cardiology research.

Second, there is no comparison given between respiratory medicine and other research output, so we cannot tell whether 49,382 articles in 9 years is an adequate response by researchers to the burden of respiratory disease, too little, or even too much in relation to other diseases. Canada and Oceania (what does this include other than Australia and New Zealand?) apparently perform very well in relation to their wealth. Why is this? Does it reflect the size of the challenge in these countries, top-down decision making, or bottom-up research applications? It would be useful to further analyze the factors leading to superior performance.

The authors have reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Michalopoulos, A, Falagas, ME (2005) A bibliometric analysis of global research production in respiratory medicine.Chest128,3993-3998. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Rippon, I, Lewison, G, Partridge, MR Research outputs in respiratory medicine.Thorax2005;60,63-67. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
García-Rio, F, Serrano, S, Dorgham, A, et al A bibliometric evaluation of European Union research of the respiratory system from 1987–1998.Eur Respir J2001;17,1175-1180. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 

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References

Michalopoulos, A, Falagas, ME (2005) A bibliometric analysis of global research production in respiratory medicine.Chest128,3993-3998. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Rippon, I, Lewison, G, Partridge, MR Research outputs in respiratory medicine.Thorax2005;60,63-67. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
García-Rio, F, Serrano, S, Dorgham, A, et al A bibliometric evaluation of European Union research of the respiratory system from 1987–1998.Eur Respir J2001;17,1175-1180. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
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