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Latin American scientific output in Public Health: combined analysis using bibliometric, socioeconomic and health indicators


This study characterizes the volume and visibility of Latin American scientific output in the area of Public Health, through a combined analysis of bibliometric, socioeconomic and health indicators of the top 10 Latin American producers of documents. The information was obtained from the SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) portal, based on Scopus data, in the category Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, of the area Medicine, for the period 2003–2011. Our scientometric analysis involved a set of quantitative indicators (based on document recount), plus performance ones to measure impact and excellence (based on citation recount) and international collaboration. The socioeconomic indicators measured investment in health and in research, and the number of researchers. Basic health indicators were used, along with the inequity indicator known as INIQUIS. The main results reveal that the research systems with the greatest capacity to communicate scientific results are those of Brazil and Mexico, and potentially Colombia and Argentina. The best visibility was demonstrated by Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Peru, countries with high rates of collaboration. No single country stands out as having a perfectly balanced relationship regarding all the dimensions analyzed. A relative balance is achieved by Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, though with different levels of scientific output. The tangible achievements in health attained by Cuba and Chile do not appear to be related with the results of research published in the area of Public Health. There is clearly a need to find methods that would allow us to evaluate the transfer of research knowledge into practice, by means of the scientometric perspective.

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Correspondence to Benjamín Vargas-Quesada.



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Chinchilla-Rodríguez, Z., Zacca-González, G., Vargas-Quesada, B. et al. Latin American scientific output in Public Health: combined analysis using bibliometric, socioeconomic and health indicators. Scientometrics 102, 609–628 (2015).

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  • Public Health
  • Latin America
  • Research evaluation
  • Bibliometrics
  • Health indicators
  • Socioeconomic indicators