Policy ForumPUBLIC HEALTH

Increasing International Gaps in Health-Related Publications

Science  13 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5724, pp. 959-960
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108705

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Summary

In countries where improvements in health are most needed, knowledge creation and application are more important than elsewhere. This Policy Forum describes the recent evolution and characteristics of worldwide scientific publications addressing a broad range of health topics indexed in internationally recognized reference databases between 1992 and 2001. When institutional addresses of collaborating authors are compared, scientific publications are highly skewed and concentrated: more than 90% of publications are produced by scientists in only 20 countries. Although the share of the contribution of middle-income countries has grown, that of low-income countries has declined by more than 10% over the 10-year period. These results provide further evidence that the gap in scientific publications between low-income countries and the rest of the world has widened.