Objectives: This pilot study analyzes citation patterns of international health (IH) research. The authors hypothesize that researchers use journal articles more than other resources as other public health literature mapping projects have shown. This study's objective is to identify key journals in IH and unique or common citation patterns in IH in comparison to areas like infectious disease or environmental health.
Methods: The authors selected research articles published in January 2013 issues of four IH journals: Bulletin of the World Health Organization (BWHO), Health Policy and Planning (HPP), Lancet Infectious Diseases (LID), and the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition (JHPN). The criteria for journal selection were based on Core Public Health Journals Project version 2.0, Journal Citation Reports (JCR), and Scopus. Data were collected by compiling all citations used by research articles. In addition to journals, books, and other published sources, this study identifies cited sources of gray literature in IH and the extent to which Internet sources are used in formal IH research. With open data trends in mind, this study looks for the citation of data sets.
Results: Out of 1,246 total citations, 817 (66%) were journal articles, 210 (17%) were miscellaneous, 205 (16%) were books/monographs, and 14 (1%) were government documents. The most highly cited journal titles were Lancet (86 citations) and BWHO (33 citations). Two journals that the authors expected to have high citations, but did not, were Lancet: Infectious Disease and American Journal of Public Health. The poster will also include:
1. Cited journals by subject.
2. Publication date of citations.
3. Examination of the miscellaneous category for data set citations.
Conclusions: Journal articles remain the most highly cited source type for public health research, seconded by gray literature and web resources; then monographs and United States government documents. Gray literature and web resources represent information provided by governments throughout the world, including 5 examples of government data sets. Compared to previous public health journal studies with journal article citation close to 90%, this study shows a lower percentage of journal articles (66%) relative to other source types. While recent articles are cited most, cited journal articles greatly range in age at citation. This study also showed lower citations of typically highly cited public health journal titles and major medical journals. There is a need for older journals. Librarians may want to focus on clinical journals that are relevant to their programs. Citation of data sets does not seem common yet, but this is something to monitor regarding public health data sources. Future studies could look at whether availability of global online government sources and online translation tools may be resulting in greater use of multiple language sources.