Systematic Reviews
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Orthop. Jun 18, 2017; 8(6): 514-523
Published online Jun 18, 2017. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v8.i6.514
Worldwide orthopaedic research activity 2010-2014: Publication rates in the top 15 orthopaedic journals related to population size and gross domestic product
Erik Hohmann, Vaida Glatt, Kevin Tetsworth
Erik Hohmann, Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston 4006, Australia
Erik Hohmann, Medical School, Faculty of Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Erik Hohmann, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Valiant Clinic/Houston Methodist Group, Dubai 414296, United Arab Emirates
Vaida Glatt, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, United States
Kevin Tetsworth, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston 4006, Australia
Kevin Tetsworth, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston 4006, Australia
Author contributions: Hohmann E designed and performed the research; Hohmann E analyzed the data; Hohmann E, Glatt V and Tetsworth K wrote the paper; all authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Data sharing statement: The technical appendix, statistical code, and dataset are available from the corresponding author at
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Erik Hohmann, FRCS, FRCS (Tr&Orth), MD, PhD, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Valiant Clinic/Houston Methodist Group, Dubai 414296, United Arab Emirates.
Telephone: +971-4-3788818 Fax: +971-4-3788718
Received: October 25, 2016
Peer-review started: October 28, 2016
First decision: December 1, 2016
Revised: December 12, 2016
Accepted: March 23, 2017
Article in press: April 18, 2017
Published online: June 18, 2017

To perform a bibliometric analysis of publications rates in orthopedics in the top 15 orthopaedic journals.


Based on their 2015 impact factor, the fifteen highest ranked orthopaedic journals between January 2010 and December 2014 were used to establish the total number of publications; cumulative impact factor points (IF) per country were determined, and normalized to population size, GDP, and GDP/capita, comparison to the median country output and the global leader.


Twenty-three thousand and twenty-one orthopaedic articles were published, with 66 countries publishing. The United States had 8149 publications, followed by the United Kingdom (1644) and Japan (1467). The highest IF was achieved by the United States (24744), United Kingdom (4776), and Japan (4053). Normalized by population size Switzerland lead. Normalized by GDP, Croatia was the top achiever. Adjusting GDP/capita, for publications and IF, China, India, and the United States were the leaders. Adjusting for population size and GDP, 28 countries achieved numbers of publications to be considered at least equivalent with the median academic output. Adjusting GDP/capita only China and India reached the number of publications to be considered equivalent to the current global leader, the United States.


Five countries were responsible for 60% of the orthopaedic research output over this 5-year period. After correcting for GDP/capita, only 28 of 66 countries achieved a publication rate equivalent to the median country. The United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, and Germany were the top five countries for both publication totals and cumulative impact factor points.

Keywords: Bibliometrics, Orthopedic surgery, Impact factor, Publication productivity

Core tip: The total number of publications by a country is one of the best indicators of research output and productivity, and is an important aspect of clinical excellence. Our results demonstrate that the United States collectively published more articles and accumulated the highest number of impact factors during the study period, and confirms its overwhelming dominance of publications in the fifteen highest ranked journals in orthopaedics. However, after adjusting for population size, Switzerland was the most academically productive nation. Similarly, after adjusting the number of publications with respect to GDP, Croatia was the most productive, and “cost effective” country.