532.4 Bibliometric analysis of research on health inequalities

Friday, August 3, 2012: 12:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Louise BOUCHARD , Sociologie, Université d'Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Marcelo ALBERTINI , Instituto de ciências matemáticas e de computação, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, Brazil
Ricardo BATISTA , Population health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Since the 70s, health inequalities have been recognized as a major public health problem worldwide. After the 1980 Black Report, which revealed health inequalities among different strata of the population, research and scientific publication has increased.  The objective of the present study was to analyze the evolution of scientific production of health inequalities.

We used descriptive, relational and qualitative indicators based on the volume of publications and citations and collaborations between authors and citations practices and on key words and concepts. The references were taken from the Web of Science database, and Le Bibliothécaire software, was used to process bibliographic information. The search strategy used keywords related to the concept of health inequality, including equity and health, health inequities, inequalities and disparities.

The search identified 25 463 scientific papers with 65 547 authors and an average of 3.7 authors per article. Medicine, Public Health, Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Sociology/Anthropology were the disciplines most frequently involved in this area of ​​research. The most cited papers were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and The Lancet. Social Science & Medicine had the largest number of publications.

The first article was in 1968 and focuses on civil rights in the United States and the elimination of racial discrimination in access to medical care. The concept of inequality was initially preferred by the authors but supplanted by that of disparity at the turn of 2007. The paper by Marmot (1991) is one of the four papers that hold the largest number of citations and contributes to the central perspective of social determinants of health and the British influence on the international status of research on social inequalities of health.