[Breast pathology: evaluation of the Portuguese scientific activity based on bibliometric indicators]

Helena M Donato, Carlos F De Oliveira
Acta Médica Portuguesa 2006, 19 (3): 225-34

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: The bibliometric analysis of the Portuguese scientific production in the field of breast pathology since 1995 to date (July 2005) provides an overview on the developed scientific activity on this subject and allows the characterisation of some relevant features as well as its evolution along the studied period.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Documents collected, reflecting the national scientific production in the field of breast pathology between 1995 and July 2005 in 3 databases, Medline (with search interface PubMed), Science Citation Index and Index of the Portuguese medical journals were studied. We applied quantitative and qualitative bibliometric indicators to the found number of articles and the journals where they were published. The quantitative indicators based on the number of published articles illustrate Portugal's position in the area of breast pathology within the international scientific community; further, it also allows the identification of the participation of the different institutions and national bodies, allocated by geographic areas, in scientific production as well as the establishment of international collaboration. Qualitative indicators were used to investigate the influence, and the impact of the scientific production. These are indicators based on the journal classification where the articles were published and also the citations they received. The number of citations obtained by the articles collected in the performed search, was determined, based on the Science Citation Index and the Impact Factor (IF) of the journals, which is annually published in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). In spite of all its constraints, it is difficult not to accept the opinion that the Impact Factor is today one of the few means (if not the sole one) which enables an assessment of the influence of a journal in the international scientific community.

RESULTS: During the evaluated period, the Portuguese scientific production in the selected area showed an increase of 200%. We analysed 348 documents (232 published in the selected international Databases and 16 in the national Database. We noticed that articles published by one single author are very rare, n=6 and that co-authorship is the most common way of publishing. The distribution of article production is as follows: 59% in the North Zone, 26% in the South Zone and 15% in the Central Zone of the country. The national institutions with a higher rate of publishing in renowned international journals are IPATIMUP, IPO Porto and IPO Lisboa. The institutions which publish the larger number of papers in Portuguese journals are Hospitals and Health Centres. The international journals selected by the national scientists present a high impact factor. In the whole of the 232 articles selected in the international databases, 81 have not received any citation and 120 obtained a total of 1.856 citations. It should be noted that the more recent articles have not yet received citations. The articles resulting from international collaboration, were those receiving an higher rate of citations.

CONCLUSIONS: An increase of the investigation in breast pathology is observed, this being illustrated by the increase in the number of articles published in well-recognized international journals. It is also noticed a trend to publish in journals with a higher impact factor as well as an increasing role of co-authorship and international collaboration.

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