International collaboration of clinical medicine research in Taiwan, 1990-2004: a bibliometric analysis

Tzeng-Ji Chen, Yu-Chun Chen, Shinn-Jang Hwang, Li-Fang Chou
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: JCMA 2007, 70 (3): 110-6

BACKGROUND: The number of publications in journals indexed in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) database of the Thomson Corporation is generally used to assess the research performance of individuals, institutions and countries in scientific fields. The aim of this study was to analyze the trends in Taiwan's ISI publications in clinical medicine from 1990 to 2004. Special attention was paid to internationally collaborated works that were identified based on the countries of co-authors' affiliations.

METHODS: The bibliographic records of articles with an author's affiliation in Taiwan were downloaded from the Web of Science on the Internet. The analysis was then limited to the journals of clinical medicine defined as such in the ISI Essential Science Indicators. International collaboration was deemed to exist in an article if any co-author's affiliation was located outside Taiwan. The impact factors in the 2004 Journal Citation Reports Science Edition were arbitrarily adopted to estimate the quality of articles.

RESULTS: Taiwan's ISI publications in clinical medicine increased from 315 articles in 1990 to 2,636 in 2004. Only 7.4% (n=1,494) of the 20,207 articles published during the study period were published in journals with an impact factor equal to or greater than 5. The share of articles with international collaboration was 13.6% (n=2,752) on average. Taiwan's researchers collaborated with colleagues in 76 countries. The USA, as the most important collaborating partner of Taiwan's clinical medicine researchers, had contributed to 69.9% of articles with international collaboration. Generally, articles with international collaboration were published in journals with higher impact factors or had more citations than those without international collaboration. The number of articles published in each year, in each of selected subject categories and from each of selected domestic institutions did not correlate with the percentage of articles with international collaboration, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Taiwan has achieved a significant increase in the number of ISI publications in clinical medicine. Yet there exists opportunity for improvement in international collaboration.

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