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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 338--341

Publication trends of research articles from infectious diseases specialty in a medical journal from India

KVS Hari Kumar1, K Aravinda2,  
1 Department of Endocrinology, Command Hospital, Lucknow - 226 002, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, CPGIDS and H, Sitapur Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
KVS Hari Kumar
Department of Endocrinology, Command Hospital, Lucknow - 226 002


Background: Details about research productivity in the infectious diseases specialty from India are lacking. Objective: To analyse publishing trends and research productivity of articles related to infectious diseases in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (JAPI). Materials and Methods : We carried out bibliometric analysis of articles related to infectious diseases specialty from JAPI published between 2000 and 2011. Data were derived from the journal«SQ»s website and the articles were analysed for type (original article, case reports, etc.), microorganism (bacterial, viral, etc.) place of the research and timelines for publication. Results : Out of 2977 articles published in JAPI over last 12 years, 256 articles belong to infectious diseases subspecialty. Infectious diseases contributed 11-18% of the published articles per year in JAPI during the last decade. Original articles (31%), case reports (38%) and correspondence (22%) constitute the majority of article types, while remaining 9% was made up by images. Bacterial (22%), protozoal and helminthic (20%), HIV (15%) and mycobacterial (16%) diseases lead the type of microorganisms represented in the research articles. Mumbai (16%), Delhi (9%) and Kolkata (7%) are the top three places contributing to the articles, followed by Chandigarh and Chennai. Original articles and case reports took approximately 14 months for publication, as compared to 6 months for an image (P < 0.0001). Conclusion : Infectious diseases specialty contributes about 15% of articles per annum in JAPI. HIV and tuberculosis together account for 30% of published litearture with fair representation from other organisms. Mumbai and Delhi are the leading contributors towards research productivity in this specialty.

How to cite this article:
Kumar KH, Aravinda K. Publication trends of research articles from infectious diseases specialty in a medical journal from India.Indian J Med Microbiol 2012;30:338-341

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Kumar KH, Aravinda K. Publication trends of research articles from infectious diseases specialty in a medical journal from India. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Jul 8 ];30:338-341
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Infectious diseases constitute a majority of cases in the clinical practice. Mostly they are treated as outdoor patients, while a few receive in-hospital therapy depending on the severity of the condition. Tuberculosis remains the giant killer, getting support from the human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus. [1] Research work pertaining to infectious diseases is often difficult to undertake for the procedures involved and the dynamic nature of the disease. However, the quality research work finds its way into one of the leading biomedical journals. The need to publish or perish is felt by most of the academicians and academic institutes imparting graduate and postgraduate teaching. [2] Infectious disorders are more often tackled by the primary care physicians and complicated cases reach the doors of the tertiary care centres or research centres. Hence, research productivity related to the infectious diseases subspecialty is seen more often in a general medicine journal than in infectious diseases journal.

Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (JAPI) is the official journal of the Association of Physicians of India. [3] JAPI is published every month and covers all the aspects of the medicine and various subspecialty subjects. There is no formal assessment of the published literature of infectious disease subspecialty in the JAPI. Hence, this work was carried out by the authors with the aim to analyse the nature and characteristics of infectious diseases related articles published in JAPI.

 Materials and Methods

JAPI issues of the last 12 years (Jan 2000 to Dec 2011) available online were taken for analysing the publication trends of articles related to infectious diseases in the journal. The data were derived from the website of the journal, which gives link to previous issues. [4] Research work carried out by individuals and institutions is presented usually as original articles. [5] However, space constraints in a journal lead to publication of the same data in a concise form as correspondence (also known as letters to editor). Individual case reports and reporting an interesting image also constituted the early steps towards the research activities. Hence, the following types of articles were included in the final analysis regarding the research productivity pertaining to infectious diseases in JAPI: Original articles, case reports, images and letters to editor. The articles published were analysed for type, subspecialty and place of the institution from where the work originated.

The following articles were excluded from the analysis as they do not report data derived from original research: Editorials, update articles, review articles, philately, miscellaneous articles, postgraduate clinic, guidelines, announcements, corrigendum. Correspondence pertaining to the published articles and comments unrelated to research work were also excluded from the analysis. Articles published in the special issues and topic supplements were excluded.

For the purpose of analysis, infectious diseases were subdivided into seven broad groups: Group 1, viral diseases other than HIV; Group 2, HIV; Group 3, bacteria other than mycobacteria; Group 4, mycobacteria; Group 5, fungal; Group 6, protozoa, helminthic; and Group 7, rickettsial, spirochaetal, mycoplasma and chlamydial. The institution of the first author was taken as the place and department of study for the articles involving multiple authors from different institutes and departments. The grade of collaboration between different institutions was not assessed separately as the number of articles with multiple institutes was small in number. The duration between initial submission and revision, and the time taken for acceptance and publication was counted using the dates given in the article files. The 1st day of every month was taken as the date of publication of all articles given in that issue (e.g. 1 st Sept 2010 was taken as the date of publication for the articles in September 2010 issue). The data were obtained independently by both the authors and discrepancy, if any, was resolved by accessing the information jointly from the JAPI website. The approval from institutional ethics committee was not taken as our study was a bibliometric analysis of published data.

Statistical analysis

Summary data were presented as mean values ± SD and comparison between groups was done by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni's multiple comparison test. The data regarding the timelines were derived from the articles and days were calculated using DAYS360 formulas embed in Microsoft Excel (Microsoft, USA). P values were reported for all statistical tests and a P value <0.05 was considered to be significant.


Over the past 12 years, JAPI has published 12 volumes (volume numbers 48-59) with 144 issues. A 10 issues which published proceedings of the APICON were not considered. The details of May 2005 issue were not available on the website. A total of 256 articles related to infectious diseases were available for final analysis. The distribution of the types of articles is given in [Figure 1]. Original articles (31%), case reports (38%) and correspondence (22%) constitute the majority of the type of research articles. Infectious diseases as a subspecialty contributed to about 11-18% of articles published in JAPI. The total number of infectious disease related articles and its share in JAPI is given in [Figure 2]. Although the number of articles per year is coming down, the percentage of articles from infectious diseases remains the same over the last decade [Figure 2].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

[Table 1] gives the details about the organism wise distribution of the articles. Bacterial (22%), protozoal and helminthic (20%), HIV (15%) and mycobacterial (16%) diseases lead the type of microorganism represented in the research productivity. Articles pertaining to viral (5%), fungal (10%) and group 7 (12%) are less in number. Original articles constitute the majority of articles related to the microorganisms, whereas case reports constitute the majority relating to articles pertaining to mycobacterial diseases. Mumbai (16%), Delhi (9%) and Kolkata (7%) contributed the majority of infectious diseases related articles, followed by Chandigarh and Chennai (6% each). The contributions from other cities of India remain a small percentage individually [Figure 3]. Only four publications related to infectious diseases were submitted from foreign countries.{Figure 3}{Table 1}

[Table 2] gives the details about the timelines between submission and publication. The time taken from initial submission to acceptance varied between 9 and 10 months and it took another 4 and 5 months for publication. Hence, the average time taken by the articles from submission to publication is about 13-15 months. Original articles, case reports and letters to editor took more time in prepublication process than pictorial images (P < 0.0001). The timelines were significantly less for images at all stages of prepublication process, as shown in [Table 2].{Table 2}


In this study, we analysed the publication trends of infectious diseases related research articles in one of the most popular journals of India, i.e. JAPI. The peak contribution from the infectious diseases specialty was seen in the years 2000 and 2009. Original articles, case reports and letters to editor take a major share of published articles. This indicates that the specialty is not biased towards more number of any particular type of articles. The contributions from the specialty did not increase in the past decade despite the growth in the numbers of the diseases and patients. [6] This is probably because of lack of interest amongst physicians in pursuing training in infectious diseases and lack of structured training course in the field of infectious diseases after postgraduation. [7]

India remains the home for a majority of patients with tuberculosis. [8] The problem of drug-resistant tuberculosis is compounded by the coexistence of HIV and the numbers are rapidly increasing despite preventive measures in place. [9] The research productivity also captures a similar trend with about 30% of articles contributed by these two diseases. The percentage of articles as per the underlying aetiology [Table 1] almost mirrors the trends observed in the clinical practice. Bacterial disorders like typhoid, pneumonitis, gram-positive and negative bacillary infections are common in both outpatient and inpatient departments of any hospital. Fungal disorders are less commonly seen and are mostly represented in the form of pictorial images rather than original articles. Malaria and leptospirosis are the common disorders contributing to research productivity from Groups 6 and 7, respectively. [10] Similar data regarding infectious diseases articles from other journals in India are lacking, precluding a comparison. Recent research article regarding the research productivity of malaria projects a similar trend of publications. [10]

Research output regarding other microorganisms was not commonly seen in JAPI. Multiple factors could have resulted in this low representation: specialised nature of the studies, small number of patients, difficulties in isolating rare organisms and rejection of a few studies by the editors by the editors if not relevant to the general practitioner. Most of the contributions to the JAPI in the field of infectious diseases have come from the metros [Figure 3]. This is explained by the fact that corporate hospitals and academic institutes imparting medical education are located in these cities. The practitioners and institutes from the smaller places have contributed sporadically with interesting case studies and original research article. Very few reports have been contributed by foreign countries and this could be due to poor visibility of the JAPI coupled with lack of online submission facilities. [11]

The articles take an average time of more than a year from the date of submission to acceptance. The data are different between types of articles, images taking less time when compared to other types of articles [Table 2]. This could be due to delay in peer review process and delay in publishing after acceptance of the articles which consume more space in the journal. Although we analysed all the online available data in this study, exclusion of some articles for lack of details is a limitation of our study.

To conclude, our analysis showed the publication trends of infectious diseases related research articles in JAPI. Infectious diseases as a subspecialty contributed about 15% of articles in JAPI every year. Original articles, case reports and letters to editor are the majority, and Mumbai contributed the maximum number of articles in this subject. HIV and tuberculosis are the most favourite research topics, followed by malaria and leptospirosis. Other infectious disorders are represented equally in the published literature of JAPI.


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