Research Article

For debate . . . medical research output 1973-81: a romp around the United Kingdom research centres.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 28 January 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:297
  1. R Wakeford,
  2. R Adams


    In order to measure output of medical research in the United Kingdom, the computerised database of Excerpta Medica was used to count the number of publications emanating from each centre of research based on a medical school in 1973-81. Data were amalgamated for the first four years (1973-6) and the final four years (1978-81) and the two sets of data were compared. Eight centres showed a substantial change (20% or more) between the first and second periods. In London three medical schools showed an increase in output and one showed a decrease in output. Elsewhere Leicester, Nottingham, and Southampton schools showed an increase and Bristol showed a decrease. The overall contribution of Cambridge did not increase over the decade but the proportion of clinical papers among those produced at Cambridge did increase. There are deficiencies in this type of exercise as all articles are treated equally, but probably some of these problems could be overcome in a more sophisticated analysis. Some measure of weighting of the importance of each paper needs to be devised.