Rise in Animal Health Research Documented

GLOBAL - While North America and Western European institutions account for around 70 per cent of published papers in veterinary journals, the contributions from Asia and Latin America - led by Brazil, China, India and Turkey - grew significantly between 1996 and 2011, a new study reveals.
calendar icon 24 June 2013
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Mary M. Christopher of the University of California–Davis and Ana Marusic of the University of Split in Croatia have examined the geographic trends in published research on animal health.

In BMC Veterinary Research recently, they report that bibliographic data can be used to map the research quality and productivity of a discipline. They hypothesised that bibliographic data would identify geographic differences in research capacity, species specialisation and interdisciplinary relationships within the veterinary profession that corresponded with demographic and economic indices.

Using the SCImago portal, they retrieved veterinary journal, article and citation data in the Scopus database by year (1996-2011), region, country and publication in species-specific journals (food animal, small animal, equine, miscellaneous), as designated by Scopus. In 2011, Scopus indexed 165 journals in the veterinary subject area, an increase from 111 in 1996.

As a percentage of veterinary research output between 1996 and 2010, Western Europe and North America (US and Canada) together accounted for 60.9 per cent of articles and 73.0 per cent of citations.

The number of veterinary articles increased from 8,750 in 1996 to 17,878 in 2010 - a net increase 66.6 per cent.

During this time, publications increased by 21.0 per cent in Asia, 17.2 per cent in Western Europe, and 17.0 per cent in Latin America, led by Brazil, China, India and Turkey.

The United States had the highest number of articles in species-specific journals.

As a percentage of regional output, the proportion of articles in small animal journals was highest in North America and the proportion of articles in food animal journals was highest in Africa.

Based on principal component analysis, total articles were highly correlated with gross domestic product (based on World Bank data). The proportion of articles in small animal and equine journals was associated with gross national income, research and development, and the percentage of urban population, as opposed to the proportion of food animal articles, agricultural output, and percentage of the rural population.

Co-citations linked veterinary medicine with medicine in the United States, with basic sciences in Eastern Europe and the Far East, and with agriculture in most other regions and countries.

Christopher and Marusic concluded that bibliographic data reflect the demographic changes affecting veterinary medicine worldwide and provide insight into current and changing global research capacity, specialisation and interdisciplinary affiliations.

A more detailed analysis of species-specific trends is warranted, they say, and could contribute to a better understanding of educational and workforce needs in veterinary medicine.


Christopher M.M. and A. Marusic. 2013. Geographic trends in research output and citations in veterinary medicine: insight into global research capacity, species specialization, and interdisciplinary relationships. BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:115 doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-115

Further Reading

You can view the full report (as a provisional PDF) by clicking here.

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