Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Total research productivity in a pathology discipline
  1. A S Wierzbicki1,
  2. T M Reynolds2
  1. 1St Thomas's Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK
  2. 2Queen's Hospital, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE13 0RB, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A S Wierzbicki, Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas's Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK;


Aims: To investigate the research productivity of all staff in chemical pathology.

Methods: Chemical pathologists or biochemical scientists were identified from publicly available sources. All journals, their impact factors (IFs), and individual publications over the period of 1995 to 1999 were identified from electronic databases. Each publication was subclassified with respect to type of publication, number and position of author, and subspecialty to which the article referred.

Results: Research output over the period comprised 6162 articles, originating from 1399 individuals, 264 of whom were medically qualified. Specialty initiated research accounted for 26% of the total publications and 80% of the research was performed in teaching hospitals. Research output was highly skewed because 49% of individuals published a letter or more, 20% published one original piece of research over five years, but only 4% were research active, as defined by one publication each year. International standard research, defined as one paper each year in journals with IF > 4, was achieved by 1% of the profession, mostly aged > 55 years. Skewed distributions of publication rates were found in all age deciles. The possession of higher research degrees correlated with higher output in all age deciles.

Conclusions: Those working in chemical pathology are active in initiating and conducting research, although at a low level. Because longterm activity in research correlates with the possession of higher research degrees and the opportunity to carry out research from early in career pathways, priority should be given to encouraging research in training, given the small and ageing profile of international quality research in the profession in the UK.

  • research assessment
  • pathology
  • chemical pathology
  • clinical biochemistry
  • physician
  • scientist
  • IF, impact factor
  • IFP, impact factor point
  • NHS, National Health Service
  • RAE, research assessment exercise
  • SCI, Science Citation Index

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.