Worldwide scientific production in obstetrics: a bibliometric analysis

  • Ana M. Palacios-Marqués
  • Concepción Carratala-MunueraEmail author
  • Juan C. Martínez-Escoriza
  • Vicente F Gil-Guillen
  • Adriana Lopez-Pineda
  • Jose A Quesada
  • Domingo Orozco-Beltrán
Original Article



Randomised clinical trials are considered to be the most reliable study design for assessing the efficacy and safety of health interventions.


To analyse worldwide obstetrics research carried out through randomised clinical trials, from 2002 to 2013.


A bibliometric analysis was performed. Publications on obstetrics that were published journals indexed in the MEDLINE database from 2002 to 2013 were analysed. The major medical subject headings used in the search were obstetrics, pregnancy complications and obstetrics surgical procedures. The main study outcome was index of research productivity.


Our study search strategy yielded a total of 142,659 articles and 9967 clinical trials. The growth rate of scientific production in obstetrics during this period was 55.43% (n = 5094). The growth rate of production of randomised clinical trials in this specialty, meanwhile, was 97.84% (n = 544). Most of the identified authors (n = 22,622, 71.21%) published only one paper during the study period. Patterns of co-authorship among the 20 most productive authors were identified. After applying Bradford’s law, six journals in the nucleus (the most prolific journals) were found. Of all the clinical trials in obstetrics published between 2002 and 2013, 10.3% were published in journals belonging to categories other than Obstetrics and Gynecology. The most common research topic in 2002 and 2013 was the use of analgesia and anesthesia in obstetrics.


Total scientific production rate in obstetrics increased from 2002 to 2013, especially randomised clinical trials. However, randomised clinical trials continue to represent a small proportion of total production.


Bibliometrics Gynaecology Obstetrics Randomised clinical trials 


Author contribution

AM Palacios-Marqués: project development, data collection, manuscript writing

C Carratala-Munuera: project development, data collection

J C Martínez-Escoriza: project development, data collection

V F Gil-Guillen: data analysis, manuscript writing

A Lopez-Pineda: data review, manuscript writing/editing

J A Quesada: data review, data analysis

D Orozco-Beltrán: data review, data analysis

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This is a bibliometric analysis not involving human subjects and is therefore exempt from institutional review board approval. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana M. Palacios-Marqués
    • 1
  • Concepción Carratala-Munuera
    • 2
    Email author
  • Juan C. Martínez-Escoriza
    • 1
  • Vicente F Gil-Guillen
    • 2
  • Adriana Lopez-Pineda
    • 2
  • Jose A Quesada
    • 2
  • Domingo Orozco-Beltrán
    • 2
  1. 1.Gynaecology and Obstetrics DepartmentHospital General Universitario de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Cátedra de Medicina de Familia, Clinical Medicine DepartmentMiguel Hernandez UniversityAlicanteSpain

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