In this study, we analyzed the publication trends of neurology-related research articles in one of the most popular journals of India. The total number of articles related to neurology subspecialty published per volume varied between 7 and 20% over the past 12 years. The peak contribution was seen in the years 2003 and 2004. Case Reports take a major share of published articles when compared with Original Articles. This indicates that the specialty is contributing a number of articles in the form of Case Reports which are of interest to the physician community. Original Research Articles of the specialty are of more relevance in specialty-specific journals and not in general medical journals. Hence, the share of the Original Articles may be less in comparison to Case Reports.
The percentage contribution from the neurology specialty in JAPI remains static in the past decade. The explosive growth in neurology research otherwise did not reflect on the publication trends of JAPI.[8
] This could be due to lack of original research and specialized nature of the studies being submitted to specialty journals rather than journals oriented toward general physicians. Neurology articles are seen more as Case Reports and Images. The trend is seen with most of the groups except in cases of epilepsy and neurodegenerative disorders. This is self-explanatory because the profiles of patients pertaining to these two disorders has no imaging characteristics and are more feasible to carry out original studies.
Neuroradiology is a latest specialty and is increasing rapidly with the advancement in the field of diagnostic imaging.[9
] Case Reports and Pictorial Images are the major types of research articles pertaining to the field of neuroradiology. Infectious disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) are rampant in our country with diseases like tuberculous meningitis, viral meningoencephalitis, and human immunodeficiency virus-related opportunistic infections.[10
] Hence, it is not surprising to see that the research productivity of neurology is predominantly originated from the field of infectious disorders of the nervous system.
Cerebrovascular disorders are increasing in number with increased risk factors and constitute a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly.[11
] Though patients with epilepsy remain a large chunk of clientele in neurology department, the total research productivity of this field is less. This could be due to difficulties in carrying out clinically meaningful research activities in epilepsy. Thus the publication trends of neurology remain in line with the patient clientele seen in clinical practice.
Most of the contributions to the JAPI in the field of neurology have come from the three metros (Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai). This is closely followed by Lucknow and Varanasi as shown in . This is explained by the fact that corporate hospitals and academic institutes imparting medical education are located in these cities. Kolkata surprisingly did not feature in the top eight places regarding neurology-related research productivity. Similar distribution of places was seen in a recently published scientometric analysis of neuroscience research from India between 1999 and 2008.[12
] The data from this paper show that the specialty had an average publication growth rate of 11.37%. India is ranked at the 21st position among the top 26 most productive countries in neurosciences with the USA and UK being the first and second respectively. AIIMS, NIMHANS, and PGIMER are the top three contributors in Indian neuroscience research work. Neurology India is the leading journal publishing Indian neurosciences research, followed by Eye and Journal of Clinical Neurosciences.[12
] However the paper does not contain data regarding individual neurological disorders resulting in lack of comparable data from our paper. The practitioners and institutes from other cities have contributed sporadically with case studies and research articles. The contribution from foreign countries is miniscule in quantity (2 out of 256) and this could be due to poor visibility of the JAPI coupled with the lack of online submission facilities.[13
The articles take an average time of more than a year from the date of submission to publication. The timelines are almost same for acceptance and publication between different types of articles as shown in . Letters to the Editor took less time for publication after acceptance when compared with other types of articles (P=0.0035). We excluded letters regarding the published articles from our analysis as mentioned earlier. Hence this indicates that research work presented in a concise form is likely to be published faster than in conventional form. This is due to requirement of the small space in the journal for letters when compared to other articles. Though we analyzed all the online available data in this study, exclusion of some articles for lack of details is a limitation of our study. Our data pertaining to neurology articles in JAPI may not reflect the overall neuroscience research output from India making this another limiting factor.