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Martain P.J. Loonen - Bibliometric Trend Analyses of Plastic Surgery Research

The present thesis was designed to evaluate the qualitative and quantitative aspects of plastic surgery research by means of a bibliometric citation analysis of plastic surgical presentations and publications. Citations to such published work provides an indication of the impact and the relevance of the scientific contribution. The quantity and the number of citations to publications by plastic surgeons and residents from The Netherlands increased during the last 50 years. Most specialists published from the moment of their graduation at medical school until 6 years after their registration as plastic surgeon. Current residents published more and better than their predecessors. Surgeons and residents published the greater part of their work in plastic surgery journals with relatively high impact factors. For each given year, this impact factor is the number of citations to articles published in the journal over the two previous years divided by the total number of citable articles published in that journal during the same two years. Citation of published work by other researchers provides an indication of the scientific relevance of one’s work, and the number of citations in specialist journals may be used to measure the relative impact of scientific work. Consequently, the impact factor is increasingly used to establish to whom grants, subsidies, and awards are appointed. Likewise, the relative importance of a journal may be established on the basis of citations made to its individual articles. However, the journal IF was found to be a particularly weak indicator of scientific value of surgical publications as we found that most citations to such publications are made after the period of two years that is critical to the IF. Additionally, a limited number of articles is likely to attract the bulk of citations to that journal and less-cited articles may be given credit because of the impact of these few, frequently cited articles. The most cited articles dealt with the reconstruction of acquired defects and with basic or experimental research. Most articles still originate from the USA, but the absolute and relative number of articles originating from Europe and Asia is rapidly increasing. Authors from small countries have a more efficient output relative to the number of inhabitants and GDP of their country. Nevertheless, in practice, the main determinant to cite an article is often the impact factor of the journal, not the methodology or quality of research. It is of great concern that the impact factor which is accepted as a measure of journal quality contains a fundamental statistical error which influence editors, peer reviewers, grants, awards and subsidies distribution in a negative manner. Therefore, we calculated an alternative for the present journal impact factor by means of The Journal Performance Indicator Revisited (JPIR).

Keywords: presentations, publication trend, researchoutput, impact factor, citations, peer-review.
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