Our team has been providing data about the knowledge production and consumption within the Latin American scientific space for more than a decade.1,2 This information had then and has now a fundamental objective: the posibility to take part in the knowledge management processes and their cycle, in order to improve their most fragile dimensions. Many correct decisions have been taken according to those data with corresponding excellent results. The current characteristics of the knowledge consumption within this scientific space have nothing to do with those existing in 1993, when the first research of the Group of Documentary Researches of the Index Foundation (GED)3 was done. The changes in the main consumption lines have been favoured by the globalization and specially by the expansion of the Internet, easing the implementation of politics derived from the GED findings.2
One of the goals of the bibliometric researches was to contribute with the definition of indexes to evaluate the authors. The impact indicators were developped with this purpose. Within an international scope, it is well accepted that the journal's impact is a poor indicator of the author's repercussion.4-7 Through the years new indicators and methods have been proposed without satisfying completly the scientific community. Recently Hirsch8 proposed a revolutionary method to calculate the scientific trayectory of an author and its relevance. He created an author index named h value, defined by the maximum number of times a researcher having h works has been cited at least h times.8,9 The computation of this indicator for the authors related to a certain discipline constitutes its Hirsch h- Index. In order to calculate the h index, a database compiling articles, citations and references to each article is needed. Evidently, the index numeric value is different from one discipline to another and it depends on the data source used for its calculation.
Up to now the hegemonic database was the JCR-Journal Citation Reports created by the firm Thompson Scientific. Nevertheless, recent important contributions are pointing out its limitations. A recent information based on the work done by Meneghini et alter11 has been published by BIREME/OPS/OMS10 in Scientometrics, the most relevant publication within the area of scienciometry. This publication demonstrates the need of using other data sources when performing a bibliometric evaluation.11 In this case the data source evaluated is SCIELO-Scientific Eclectronic Library Online, which permits a more precise evaluation of the national or regional scientific production.11
This same theory has been raised by our team many years ago.12 The whole GED's bibliometric work line leans on the following premise: the data source must be adapted to the object being evaluated.1 An ambitious project is being developed since year 2005 with the objective of calculating directly the impact of an author.13,14 In other words, the aim is achieving a measurement of the times the author is cited and who is responsible of that citation(all of this is intended using full texts).15,16 This project, which is in a quite advanced phase, has been named CUIDEN CITACIÓN (version author impact and work). The analysis done is based precisely on the data stored in this database in the last two years.
For the first time we have at our disposal information to classify the authors of the Latin American scientific space using as criterion the number of times they have been cited. Since this analysis is possible, our team has considered the objective of incorporating the Hirsch h index8,9 to the computations done to obtain a index defining an excellence and relevance standard for the Nursing researchers, and to open the door to researches on co-citation and generation of knowledge atlas and maps.17-22 The JCR limitations for the Latin American scientific production evaluation are solved with this research work. At the same time a diversification of the data sources for the author's evaluation1,4,10,11 is offered. The numeric value of the h index for an author will be the addition of the results obtained with the different available data sources.4
Strategy. Bibliometric, descriptive transverse research designed to evaluate the authorship based on the citations found in the articles of a series of 47 source journals.
Data Sources. In order to obtain the information, two databases were used: CUIDEN© and CUIDEN CITACIÓN (version author impact and work). At the moment of performing the search, the data base CUIDEN counted on 48923 documents. The database CUIDEN CITACIÓN had a total of 3907 source articles added to 57782 cited documents [table
1]. Table 2 describes the 47 source journals included in CUIDEN CITACIÓN, added to the number of articles included per journal, grouped by annual periods.
Selection of the authors to be evaluated. The criterion of production was used to select the authors to be evaluated: the most productive authors of the Latin American scientific space.
-Number of works published. Any kind of articles or books was considered as such. Presentations done in scientific meetings were not considered publications unless they had been entirely published in a journal.
-Type of article of each author: original articles, revisions and rest of types.
-Author's professional category: absolute frequency.
-Researcher's country where he develops the research activity: absolute frequency.
-Number of citations per author.
-Number of self-citations per author.
-Number of source articles and cited articles per selected author.
-Rate of citations/works per author.
-Hirsch h-index to calculate the Nursing h index for the Latin American scientific research space. A double computation is included: h-index considering self-citations and h-index without considering self-citations.
-The h index is defined as the number assigned to a researcher having h research works that have been cited at least h times.
Authors Selection. The authors' selection was done using CUIDEN©. The original database version in Procite was filtered in order to obtain a list of authors. The filtering criterion used was 'workform=articulo or libro'. 40734 documents were obtained and the subsequent list of authors of those documents was created. 59882 authors were found. Authors were listed in descendant order using the variable 'number of works per author'. Authors having more than 21 works were selected from that list and were classified, according to their productivity [table 3], within the group of Great Producers (n>-
Data Retrieval. Several searches per author (family name, complete and abbreviated name) were done to calculate each author's scientific production. Congresses and scientific meeting summaries were eliminated from the author's search results. The final scientific production of an author represents his number of published books or articles. Two documentary types can be identified within this scientific production: revisions and original articles. All these computations were done using the authors' selection described in the former section. The database used was CUIDEN©.
CUIDEN CITACIÓN was used in order to calculate the number of times an author was cited. A complete search, considering all the possible variations of name and family name permitted, was performed per author. Two fundamental pieces of information were obtained: number of citations per author and number of source articles in which those citations were done. The number of self-citations per author was also computed.
The h index was not calculated for every author. The aim of this work is identifying the value of the Hirsch h index which defines excellence and points out relevant scientific trajectories. It was computed for the first ten authors added to the authors of the geographic areas represented (geographic variability of authors within the Latin American scientific space). The computation was done manually: each author's cited articles were listed with their complete reference. The authors were subsequently grouped based on a decreasing frequency of citation. Finally the h index was computed using Hirsch's definition.
More than 1600 searches were done to obtain the data set. The whole citation reports (authorship, source articles, cited articles and h index computation) filled more than 500 pages.
Statistical Analysis: A simple regression analysis was done to establish the connection between the variables 'author's scientific production' and 'number of citations received by the author'. The same analysis was done with the indexes 'citations/number of works' and 'citations minus self-citations/number of works'.
Bias and Errors: The main bias of this work is connected to the object of study's nature: the authorship. A big variability exists in the procedure of citation. The author's name can appear in many different ways, including the erroneous reference. There is no homogeneity neither in the citation procedure, nor in the way does the author sign his own work. Therefore, the appropriate exploration of the data contained in CUIDEN© and CUIDEN CITACIÓN can only be obtained through several searches per author. In some occasions the authorship assignation had to be done using indirect criteria (collaborators coincidence, research topic, specialty area or author's working centre).
The 8,18% of the selected scientific production (40734 documents) can be ascribed to the 86 authors analyzed in this work [table 4]. Figure 1 represents the whole production of works per author, distinguishing original works and revisions. The 4% of the citations found in CUIDEN CITACIÓN can be ascribed to the 86 selected authors (ideally considering that there are no duplicated citations among two different authors).
Special features of the Great Producers. Based on the geographic origin, great producers have been detected in five countries: Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and E.E.U.U. Although there is no complete information about the author's professional ascription, the data available point out that among the great producers there are at least 8 doctors, 3 physiotherapists, 1 midwife, 1 historian (added to nurses with a degree or a PhD in history), 2 psychologists, 1 pharmacist, and a considerable number of professional nurses. All of them are likely to have masters or other higher education (sociology, anthropology, psychology, including PhDs, etc).
Not all the great producers are cited as much as it should be expected. We have found that physiotherapists are not cited at all (v.g.: Lucha López). Doctors publishing in journals of physiotherapy or multi-disciplinary journals with a local or regional field of influence are not cited neither even if they count on a great production (v.g.: Guisado Barrilao). Only Spanish and Brazilian nurses and professors of schools and universities (without a degree in Nursing) obtain remarkable levels of citation. Exceptionally, Dr. Cuesta highlights the scientific production in Colombia due to her double bond with Colombia and Spain. Neither Cuba, nor Chile, nor Argentina nor the rest of Latin American countries count on great producers.
Hirsch h index. Table 5 defines the h index for Nursing in the Latin American scientific space. Its maximum value in absolute terms is 9. This value corresponds to the author with the highest number of citations, being one of the biggest producers found. If self-citations are excluded from the computation, the highest h value computed is 6. Trajectories of excellence are found in authors having about 30 works published and 60 citations to their work. Among the great producers, there are seven which have received no citation at all, and therefore they have an h index equal to zero. In other words, being a great producer does not necessary imply being cited. The rest of monitored authors have received at least 1 citation and therefore their h index is 1.
Regression Analysis: index citations/works. The simple regression analysis did not produce an explicative connection between the number of works, distinguishing original works and revisions (independent variable) and the number of citations received by the author (dependent variable). The value of R was lower than 0,2 in any case. The regression analysis for the distributions of the indexes 'citations/number of works' (independent variable) and 'citations minus self-citations/number of works' (dependent variables) showed a good correlation with a value of R=0.936 (R2=0,875; sig<0,000// y=0,033+1,229x). Both distributions fit a logarithmic graph [Figure 2].
Most of the phenomena analyzed in this work are innovative not only because of the chosen approximation methodology, but also regarding the data and analysis units used. Up to now authors had never been the central object of analysis in a bibliometrical research in our environment. The majority of the variables analyzed will need further independent analysis and therefore a new bibliometrical research line is open with the analysis of authorship as central objective.13-22 There are many unanswered questions. The database CUIDEN CITACIÓN is the only tool that permits the author's evaluation based on the existing number of citations to his work. This database mainly retrieves the citations of nursing journals and includes all the references, no matter if they are nursing references or not. As a consequence, all searches done in CUIDEN CITACIÓN turn out to give results for authors of any nationality, language and knowledge area as long they have been cited by nursing articles which belong to the selective source journal index included.4
That is, therefore, one of the strengths of CUIDEN CITACIÓN: it gives information about any author cited by nurses publishing in journals of the Latin American scientific space. As a consequence, we can calculate the h value for an author like Linda Aiken, who has an h index of 5 accumulating several tens of references to her work. This database offers the possibility of identifying international research lines which determine the regional scientific production of the geopolitical area of analysis. In addition it is a useful tool for foreign authors and authors of other areas of knowledge willing to calculate their h index with a precision higher than the one offered by JCR, as it permits to sum up and complete the citations received in both systems.
The authors' distribution shown in table 3 can be explained using the Lotka's Law. The remarkable issue regarding this data is the fact that we count on an important number of great producers within our scientific space. This fact predicts the existence of stable research groups added to consolidated research lines. In fact, the 86 great producers' analysis shows several research lines developed in the last ten years, headed by some authors and groups. Examples of research lines linked to these great producers are documentation, bibliometry, knowledge management, practice based on evidence, clinical effectiveness, qualitative research, cutaneous ulcers and chronic acute skin damages, nursing history or researches on nephrology.14,23-27 There are two features common to all the cases observed: a big scientific production added to citations of the works years after their publication. In this sense, there is no doubt that nurses from the Latin American scientific space form a corpus of shared citations. Being this system of shared citations a focus of disciplinal production, consumption and knowledge management, it is not isolated from external influences. The bibliometric analysis performed by the Group of Documentary Analysis (GED- Grupo de Estudios Documentales) has pointed out its permeability towards the Anglo-Saxon areas.28,29
Among the great producers selected we have found professionals from disciplines such as medicine or physiotherapy. This fact does not represent a bias, but a characteristic linked to the database's nature. CUIDEN© is a scientific database covering the scientific productions in nursing and related areas. Among the doctors labeled as great producers we can mention Gervás and Villalbí. They do not have self-citations as they do not tend to publish in nursing journals. The existence of citations but not self-citations for this authors is reasonable considering the data source used (CUIDEN CITACIÓN) and its criteria of inclusion (it contains all the citations published in nursing source journals from the Latin American scientific space). The selected physiotherapists are not cited. This fact constitutes a worrying phenomenon as it reflects a problem in the cycle of knowledge production: there is a production, but such production is not referenced. There might be several explanations to this fact: shortage of physiotherapy publications, poor works' circulation, difficulties to obtain complete texts, or distribution problems. The fact is that nurses do not cite scientific publications of great producers within the field of physiotherapy. There is a need of providing knowledge about the behavior in this discipline. Other areas related to occupational therapy or social work are not represented among the great producers, although CUIDEN© indexes the main journals published in Spain. Ortega-Valdivieso et alter' research about the journal of the Occupational Therapists Spanish Professional Association (APETO) points out the reason why occupational therapists are not great producers and have a low visibility within the knowledge production. Along 16 years, this journal has published 199 scientific articles (12,43 articles per year) with an average of 4,53 citations per article. The average rate of citations per article in CUIDEN CITACIÓN is higher than
Another relevant phenomenon stated by Ortega-Valdivieso's research is the lack of great producers belonging to the most of the Latin American scientific space. Only four countries are represented: Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. This was a predictable fact taking into account the former analysis made by GED.30-32 The most of the Latin American countries have a small visible scientific production or count on few nursing journals. The two countries labeled as knowledge great producers are Spain and Brazil,30,31 followed by Mexico and far in the back (although it has a long tradition represented by the journal Research and Education in Nursing ), followed by Colombia.
The nursing h index of the Latin American scientific space is represented in table 5. This table shows several first class facts: the authors' evaluation according to their scientific production does not represent their impact or repercussion. Therefore, being a great producer is not synonymous of having a high h value; the number of citations and the ratio citations/work do not order authors according to their trayectory4 (v.g.: an author having published only one original article cited four times would have a ratio citations/work=4. However, its h index would be 1); the h index renders the compared trajectories of a group of authors according to their h values. An h value of 9 implies 9 works cited 9 times each (at least 81 citations are accumulated for those 9 works). Nine works are not published in one year but in several, and 81 citations require several years for other authors working in similar topics within the same research line to reference a concrete contribution.4 The h value represents a global trajectory. A certain discipline's h index permits the comparison of several specific authors' scientific trajectories in terms of excellence, repercussion and relevance. At the same time these trajectories represent the progress in the research lines leaded by those authors evaluated.
Using the current information, the value h>-3 can be defined as the minimum value for a scientific trajectory to be considered relevant in a period of 5-6 years. Authors having received around 30 citations can be located within this group of relevant scientific trajectories (they represent the 20% of the great producers monitored) although this feature must be confirmed individually for each author. The most of the great producers' scientific trajectories do not fulfill the criteria of excellence. We can not propose yet a classification similar to the one Hirsch proposed for Physics, especially for one reason: a certain h value obtained from Hirsch's calculations means prestige, access to resources added to the possibility to obtain the Nobel Prize. We do not know yet what can such an h value represent in Nursing.
The maximum values found in this analysis seem to be low compared to those provided by Hirsch8. But this is not true. Hirsch has done his computations for periods of 10, 20 and 30 years. Our analysis has evaluated a central time interval of 5-6 years. If our values were multiplied by 2, 4 and 6, the result would be an h index analogous to the one found by Hirsch for Physics. Evidently, the database used as source for this analysis, CUIDEN CITACIÓN, must be completed in terms of chronological coverage and source journals. A more exact and complete evaluation will be possible when the number of 100.000 citations is reached, and complete collections of journals covering a period of 10 years are compiled. This is likely to happen in 2008. Nevertheless, the current data provides a valid and trustable tool to evaluate the nurses of the Latin American scientific space. This tool will always be more reliable than the evaluation of an author according to the impact index of the journal where he publishes, although it is known that the journal impact has an influence on the citations and the visibility of the author and his contribution. Using the data of tables 4 and 5, we can even go further: certain research trajectories can be questioned,13 the institutions some authors belong to can be evaluated, and the results of the resources dedicated to research can be analyzed. It is difficult to understand, for example, the financing of research projects done by institutions, when those projects do not produce any social benefit like knowledge production useful for the society financing and supporting them. The usefulness can be measured using the existing citations of the work.
On the other side, taking into account the fact that the nursing scientific production obsolescence is around 4-6 years,33-35 the contributions of an author done in 2006 will be cited fundamentally among the 4th and 6th year after their publication. If at that point of time the author has not been cited yet, he probably will never be cited. Only exceptional contributions of classic authors receive citations many years after the publication of their work. This is the case, for example, of Arcas-Ruiz and his work on priorities in nursing research published in year 1990.
We have found series of anomalous data that should be studied in a particular analysis in the future. Certain very interesting events about co-citation have been found.15,17-22 The first remarkable event is the under-citation among authors sharing the same research line. We have found that Gálvez and Amezcua cite quite a lot Icart, Cabrero, Richart and Torra; however, the first ones are not inversely corresponded in terms of citations. This phenomenon is present to such an extent that the h index of the last ones is computed counting on the citations they have received from the former ones. If the citations from Gálvez and Amezcua were eliminated from the h index computation, the other three authors would observe a decrease of up to 3 points in their final h values. This under-citation of some authors compared to others has several meanings: there might be a voluntary lack of recognition for certain authors, the scientific production of the Latin American space might not be revised properly (deviation due to language), or certain authors' contribution might be considered irrelevant. Whatever the reason is, some authors exist that can be classified as "haunted" as their publications are underestimated by colleagues sharing the same research lines. This phenomenon is worth of analysis as its existence attempts on the scientific thinking and the cycle of knowledge production and consumption.17-22
The analysis of the collaborations and shared authoring is equally interesting. Among the authors analyzed we have detected several of them which share practically all of their publications. The problem in this case is the well-founded suspicion that this cooperation is neither the result of the work on a research line nor the progressive contributions of a research group, but the effect of curricular intentions. This phenomenon is visible among University professors for which it is a common practice to find many authors signing an article. Some times the number of authors is higher than six (without having contents to justify such an amount of authors). In our area of work, only University professors are forced to consider publications a goal. Generally, the rest of nurses publishing do not have other reasons apart from their wish of publishing or complementing their activity in the clinical field. For this reason it is not common to find clinical nurses among the great producers. The exception to the rule can be observed for researchers affiliated to independent research groups or centers. Several authors from centers with such characteristics have been identified in this work (GENAUPP, EASP and INDEX Foundation) added to an author associated to the pharmaceutical industry. Generally speaking, nurses do not work as scientists, but fulfill research works as a secondary activity.14 The only Spanish center with nurses employed as researchers is the Health Institute Carlos III. Their employment is done through the unit called INVESTEN, but none of its members appears among the most productive authors [tables 4
The conclusions of this work are many, and more questions than answers appear as results. There is one clear fact: the objective evaluation of the Latin American scientific space researchers is possible, and in order to do so, we count on a tool called CUIDEN CITACIÓN. There are objective data to compare the scientific trajectory of any authors, added to a defined minimum and very generous standard of scientific relevance which can be used as reference in the evaluation (the h index of nursing in the Latin American Scientific space). Reasonable criteria exist to know who the author is and who he pretends to be. On the other side, it is necessary to go deeper into the analysis of the rest of variables evaluated in this report. There is still a lot to know about the social behavior of knowledge production. The analysis of the co-citation is especially interesting. The micro researches like the ones done by individual journals36 should be surpassed, adopting instead more universal positions.37
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Table 1. Description of the data sources: CUIDEN© and CUIDEN CITACIÓN (Dec. 2006)
Table 2. Source journals CUIDEN CITACIÓN (number of source articles and coverage in years)
Table 3. Distribution according to productivity levels
Table 4. Production in terms of author, citations received, source articles and self-citations.
*Source articles having cited the author with or without self-citations
Table 5. Latin American scientific space nursing h index
**with self-citations; ***Country where the research activity has been developed
Number of author' works, originals and reviews and Figure
2. Index of Quote/work and Quote-selfquote/work