Short communication

Scand J Work Environ Health 2015;41(3):294-298    pdf full text


The international contribution to occupational health research

by Ferris M, Hirst A, Sanati NA, Sanati KA

Objective The importance of international occupational health research is established in achieving the World Health Organization’s vision of “occupational health for all”. The aim of this short communication is to describe the geographical distribution of research published in leading occupational health journals.

Methods Seven leading occupational health journals were identified, based on citation rates and impact factors. All research papers published in these journals in 2011 and 2012 were identified and attributed to a country, based on the affiliation of the first author. The crude rate and rates adjusted by GDP and population were calculated for each country.

Results A total of 1466 papers were identified, with first authors based in 56 different countries. Over half of the papers were published by first authors based in 4 countries (USA, UK, the Netherlands and Japan). The leading 10 countries contributed 76% of the total number of papers and the leading 20 countries 94%. Of the 1466 papers, 89% were published by authors based in high-income countries. An analysis of the adjusted rates of publications by population and GDP revealed dominance by the Scandinavian countries.

Conclusions The data are consistent with results of previous studies showing that a large proportion of papers are produced by researchers in the USA, but that the highest rates adjusted by GDP are from Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. This indicates that a small number of countries continue to dominate research published in leading occupational health journals. As a result, the areas of research risk being biased to the needs of those countries rather than the wider international community.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 2004;30(3):223-233