Orthopaedic research in Zimbabwe: a seminal bibliometric analysis



orthopaedic surgery research, bibliometric analysis, research collaborations, Zimbabwe, Africa


Background: To provide a bibliometric analysis of published orthopaedic research in the form of peer-reviewed articles as well as non-indexed articles from Zimbabwe in the past six decades.

Methods: We carried out a literature search of the ‘Clarivariate Analytics’ Web of Science database, specific journals not included in the database and the University of Zimbabwe repository. We then selected articles focused on research in orthopaedic pathology in Zimbabwe. These article were then classified by year of publication; focus of research; first and last author country of origin; collaboration type between high-, middle- and low-income countries; journal title; journal country; methodology; and level of evidence.

Results: A total of 27 articles published from 1965 to 2020 were found in the search with 26 having a single focus of research and one multiple foci. The highest focus of research was osteoporosis with six articles (22%), while trauma was second with five articles (19%). A majority, 19/27 (70%), of studies had a first author from Zimbabwe, while a plurality, 10/27 (37%), had a Zimbabwean last author. Most collaborations, 12/27 (44%), were high-income–low-income countries, with most studies being concomitantly published in the United States, 13/27 (48%). Cross-sectional descriptive studies represented the most common methodology with 13/27 articles carried out in this method (48%). The majority of these articles, 14/27 (52%), represented a low level of evidence at level 4, while 11/27 articles (41%) of articles were of a high level of evidence (levels 1 or 2).

Conclusion: There is a limited amount of published orthopaedic surgery research work from Zimbabwe, highlighting the need for more and higher quality research from Zimbabwe. Among different models, partnerships between Zimbabwean researchers and researchers from other international institutions appear to be the most productive in terms of research output and hence should be replicated more broadly.

Level of evidence: Level 4

Author Biographies

Cosmas Sibindi, Yale School of Medicine

Medical student, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America

Akimu Mageza, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals

Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

Adrienne Socci, Yale School of Medicine

Department of Orthopaedics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America