PubMed-based quantitative analysis of biomedical publications in the SAARC countries: 1985-2009
Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons
To conduct a geographical analysis of biomedical publications from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries over the past 25 years (1985-2009) using the PubMed database. A qualitative study. Web-based search during September 2010. A data extraction program, developed by one of the authors (SFS), was used to extract the raw publication counts from the downloaded PubMed data. A search of PubMed was performed for all journals indexed by selecting the advanced search
... tion and entering the country name in the 'affiliation' field. The publications were normalized by total population, adult illiteracy rate, gross domestic product (GDP), secondary school enrollment ratio and Internet usage rate. The number of PubMed-listed papers published by the SAARC countries over the last 25 years totalled 141,783, which is 1.1% of the total papers indexed by PubMed in the same period. India alone produced 90.5% of total publications generated by SAARC countries. The average number of papers published per year from 1985 to 2009 was 5671 and number of publication increased approximately 242-fold. Normalizing by the population (per million) and GDP (per billion), India (133, 27.6%) and Nepal (323, 37.3%) had the highest publications respectively. There was a marked imbalance among the SAARC countries in terms of biomedical research and publication. Because of huge population and the high disease burden, biomedical research and publication output should receive special attention to formulate health policies, re-orient medical education curricula, and alleviate diseases and poverty.