Subspecialization of the Ophthalmic Literature A Review of the Publishing Trends of the Top General, Clinical Ophthalmic Journals

Eugene Garfield garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Wed Aug 3 15:31:13 EDT 2011

Subspecialization of the Ophthalmic Literature A Review of the Publishing 
Trends of the Top General, Clinical Ophthalmic Journals

Author(s): Kumar, A (Kumar, Anupma); Cheeseman, R (Cheeseman, Robert); 
Durnian, JM (Durnian, Jonathan M.)

Source: OPHTHALMOLOGY  Volume: 118  Issue: 6  Pages: 1211-1214  DOI: 
10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.10.023  Published: JUN 2011  

Abstract: Purpose: To investigate the publishing trends of the top general 
clinical ophthalmic journals and to report: (1) the proportions of articles 
published in terms of ophthalmic subspecialty, (2) the study design used, (3) 
any changes in publishing trends, and (4) any differences in the quality of 
study design between the subspecialties. 
Design: Retrospective, database review. 
Participants: All original articles published in the top general, clinical 
ophthalmology journals from 2005 through 2009. 
Methods: All general, clinical ophthalmic journals were selected from the top 20 
journals based on 2008 impact factor. All abstracts from original articles were 
reviewed, and the subject matter was recorded as belonging to 1 of the 11 
ophthalmic subspecialties. After the content of the article was assigned, then 
the study design was recorded as one of the following: nonanalytic study, 
case-control or cohort study, randomized control trial, meta-analysis, 
laboratory science article, or systemic review. 
Main Outcome Measures: Subspecialty of the article and the study design 
Results: Seven journals were included, and 12 426 abstracts were reviewed. 
Articles relating to medical retina were the most prevalent (29.1%), and those 
relating to strabismus were the least prevalent (2.3%). Case-control or cohort 
studies comprised most study designs (40.1%), with meta-analyses comprising 
the least (0.3%). The mean number of articles per year was 2485 (standard 
deviation, 125.1), remaining stable over the study period. Medical retina 
articles were significantly more common in 2009 than in 2005 (chi-square, 11.2; 
P = 0.0008), whereas the proportion of oculoplastic articles was significantly 
reduced (chi-square, 16.9; P < 0.0001). Cataract and refractive surgery had 
the highest proportions of articles using the higher forms of study design 
(7.8%), and oculoplastics had the highest proportion of nonanalytic studies 
Conclusions: There are great differences across the specialty of ophthalmology 
in the subject matter of published literature, probably driven by recent 
advances in treatments. Medical retina is the subspecialty that is most 
represented in the literature, with strabismus being the least represented. 
Cataract and refractive surgery articles have the greatest proportion of higher-
quality research strategies.

Language: English
Document Type: Review

Addresses: [Kumar, A; Cheeseman, R; Durnian, JM] Royal Liverpool Univ Hosp, 
St Pauls Eye Unit, Liverpool L7 8XP, Merseyside, England
Reprint Address: Durnian, JM (reprint author), Royal Liverpool Univ Hosp, St 
Pauls Eye Unit, Prescot St, Liverpool L7 8XP, Merseyside, England

E-mail Address: jondurnian at
ISSN: 0161-6420

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