Introduction: Iranian medical journals which are usually published by the medical universities and research centers play a major role in representing the scientific achievements and reflect the scientific state of the country. One of the tools for evaluating scientific articles is citation analysis. Therefore, this study was performed with the aim of studying and evaluating articles in the scientific research journals published by medical universities in Iran.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, journals accredited by the Medical Journals Commission of Iran were studied between 1997 and 2000. A total of 556 issues of 46 journals including 6792 articles with 94083 Persian and English references were reviewed and studied. Data were collected via a special checklist in three stages. Variables included name of journal, year and season of publication, type of article, number of authors, sex, and level of education, specialization, and affiliation of the first author. The immediacy indexes and impact factors of the articles were calculated. The findings were analysed by SPSS using descriptive statistics and ANOVA.
Results: Results showed that 81.2% of the published articles were original articles, 11.4% case reports, 5.5% review articles, 0.5% translations, and 1.4% belonged to other categories. The trend in the number of articles published from 1997 to 2000 showed an increase of 14.1%. 70% of the references used by the authors were articles of others, and approximately 36% of the authors cited their own previously published articles. 31.6% of the articles had two authors, and 54.3% were by assistant professors. 95% of the published articles were not cited at all.
Conclusion: With increase in time since publication of an article, the number of citations to that article also increases. Also, researchers rarely cite Persian articles, which could be either due to the fact that there is no comprehensive up-to-date database of Persian articles in medicine, or that no proper compilation of references is made by authors. It is therefore proposed that an organization under supervision of the Medical Journals Commission should undertake Iranian citation and indexing database with the capability of storage, recovery and evaluation.
Hakim Research Journal 2007 10(1): 36- 42.