Newswise — Citation rates of scholarly journal articles are tracked in many medical specialties and can affect health care treatment and research. Until the publication of a recent Rutgers-led study in JAMA Network Open, there have been no comprehensive bibliometric studies of obstetrics and gynecology articles.

The researchers identified 3,767,874 articles in the journal Science’s Science Citation Index Expanded and profiled the top-cited 100 ob-gyn articles that were published in non-specialty journals, which includes general medicine and surgery journals, and the top-cited 100 ob-gyn articles that were published in specialty journals to see how academic journals work together to disseminate knowledge in the ob-gyn field.

“Health professionals who take care of women must know how the medical journals they read shape the delivery of health care in the ob-gyn field,” said Justin S. Brandt, an assistant professor in the Department of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The researchers found substantial differences between top-cited ob-gyn articles that were published in non-specialty journals compared to those published in ob-gyn journals. Compared to top-cited articles that were published in specialty journals, those published in general medicine and surgery journals were more frequently cited, covered topics with broader appeal to wider audience reach, and showed higher levels of evidence. According to Brandt, the lead researcher, these are the articles that have the highest impact in ob-gyn.

The New England Journal of Medicine led with the most cited articles among the 100 top-cited ob-gyn articles published in non-specialty journals. The researchers found that 65 of these articles originated from academic institutions within the United States. On the other hand, the researchers found that the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology was the most influential specialty journalForty-three of the top-cited 100 articles published in specialty journals originated in the United States.

The researchers concluded that specialty and non-specialty journals work together to ensure the optimal distribution of impactful articles to all women’s health care professionals. They said their findings provided an insight into how academic journals with different goals work together for this purpose.

“It is likely that this also occurs in other medical fields, so further bibliometric studies are needed to characterize this relationship among journals,” Brandt said.

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JAMA Network Open; The New England Journal of Medicine; The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology