BACKGROUND:Research in the fields of Preventive Medicine, Occupational/Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health play an important role in the advancement of knowledge. In order to map the research production around the world we performed a bibliometric analysis in the above fields.METHODS:All articles published by different world regions in the above mentioned scientific fields and cited in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) database of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) during the period 1995 and 2003, were evaluated. The research production of different world regions was adjusted for: a) the gross domestic product in 1995 US dollars, and b) the population size of each region.RESULTS:A total of 48,861 articles were retrieved and categorized. The USA led the research production in all three subcategories. The percentage of articles published by USA researchers was 43%, 44% and 61% in the Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology, and Public Health subcategories, respectively. Canada and Western Europe shared the second position in the first two subcategories, while Oceania researchers ranked second in the field of Public Health.CONCLUSION:USA researchers maintain a leadership position in the production of scientific articles in the fields of Preventive Medicine, Occupational/Environmental Medicine and Epidemiology, at a level similar to other scientific disciplines, while USA contribution to science in the field of Public Health is by all means outstanding. Less developed regions would need to support their researchers in the above fields in order to improve scientific production and advancement of knowledge in their countries.
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