NEWS

Physics and medicine lead the field in the number of research papers published

The data bank at the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) was used to carry out the survey. The ISI is a private group founded in 1958 which aims at «facilitating researchers’ access to high-level modern research information.» Its activities focus chiefly on maintaining the data bank that now covers 16,000 international journals, books and conference proceedings. Papers were counted that had been published over the past decade in 30 periodicals with the greatest impact factor, in each of the 50 broadest scientific categories. Greek papers published in these journals were counted, Greek papers being those whose main author was stated as being a member of a Greek foundation. Trichopoulos said the survey did not include papers on research undertaken abroad, such his own at Harvard or those of other prominent researchers. The data bank contains 4,340,793 papers by researchers from around the world. Of these, 64.9 percent concern various specializations in medicine, 11.1 percent in chemistry and related fields, and 6.1 percent in physics and related fields. Of all the 20,528 Greek papers, 2,325 concerned physics, astronomy, astrophysics, medicine and physics; 920 were in chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, pharmaceuticals, pharmacology, toxicology and molecular biology; 1,083 in mechanical engineering and geological sciences; 389 in mathematics; 691 in information technology, the study of systems and administration and transport; 783 on agronomy, food and nutrition, ecology, zoology and phytology; 235 in psychology, education and the philosophy of science; 13,471 on all medical specializations; and another 631 in other health sciences. «It is clear from an analysis of the data,» continued Trichopoulos, «that there are sectors in which our research activity is more in evidence and others where we are not so prominent. Greek researchers in the study of systems and administration account for 12.4 percent of the total, in physics 10.5 percent, and in transport and traffic systems, cardiovascular systems, oncology and mathematics for almost 10 percent. However, we also tried to evaluate the influence each sector has in international scientific bibliography.» For example, the survey found that while systems and administration research is a broadly distributed sector, it is not significant on a world scale. There are no important journals, so publishing papers is easier, in contrast to other sectors such as oncology or cardiovascular research. So the sector that has the greatest activity, given the superior reputation of the relevant journal, is physics, followed by oncology, cardiovascular research, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, endocrinology and metabolic diseases, liver diseases, gastroenterology, microbiology and infectious diseases. «Two-thirds of the papers published by the medical profession appear in the most reputable journals. In a total of 20,582 papers, 13,471 were medical. Taking into consideration the inadequate state funding for research and the lack of meritocracy, this means that Greece is not doing too badly.»