Medical scientific output and specialization in Latin American countries


“Smart specialization” allows one to identify national strengths and weaknesses within research fields and establish priorities accordingly. It may be a useful strategy for building scientific capacity in developing and peripheral countries. The objective of this paper is to characterize the scientific output and specialization of the most productive Latin American countries with focus on international collaboration and impact. We conducted a descriptive study based on the SCImago Institutions Ranking (SIR) portal, in the field of Medicine, for the period 2003–2013. The set of indicators applied was based on documents, citation, and collaboration. The results show that at the global level, Surgery, Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, and Public Health are the most productive subjects in Medicine; in Latin America the most productive topics are Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Surgery, Neurology, and Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine. The most prolific countries are Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, though the ones having greater impact and more collaboration are Peru, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. The most productive and visible fields, such as Oncology, Cardiology, and Infectious Diseases, are related to major global health problems involving chronic and emerging diseases. This information could be useful to design pragmatic policies, to encourage research in key fields in order to respond better to the health needs of a given population.

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Correspondence to Grisel Zacca-González.

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Zacca-González, G., Chinchilla-Rodríguez, Z. & Vargas-Quesada, B. Medical scientific output and specialization in Latin American countries. Scientometrics 115, 1635–1650 (2018).

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  • Medicine
  • Bibliometrics
  • Subject categories
  • Latin America
  • Activity Index
  • Scientific output

Mathematical Subject Classification

  • 94

JEL Classification

  • D8