Orthopaedic research activity in South Africa measured by publication rates in the 15 highest impact journals related to population size and gross domestic product


  • E Hohmann
  • V Glatt
  • K Tetsworth


bibliometrics, orthopaedic surgery, impact factor, publication productivity


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate the number of publications and impact of South African surgeons in the 15 highest impact orthopaedic journals over a five-year period. 

METHODS: The abstracts between January 2010 and December 2014 were screened and the total number of publications and impact points were collated. Normalisation to population size, GDP and per capita GDP was performed. 

RESULTS: Of the 23 021 orthopaedic articles from 66 countries, South Africa published 19 articles and ranked 41st overall for the number of publications and 40th for impact. When compared to the other African countries it ranked 2nd. The following ranks were calculated for adjusting population (51st overall, 2nd in Africa), GDP (51st overall, 3rd in Africa), GDP per capita (31st overall, 3rd in Africa). 

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that South Africa ranked in the lower third of all countries that published in the top 15 highest impact orthopaedic journals. In Africa, Egypt was the leading country for total publications and impact factor maintaining the first rank even when adjusted for population size, GDP, GDP per capita and research funding in percentage of GDP.






General Orthopaedics