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HIV/AIDS in Nigeria: a bibliometric analysis
© Uthman; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008
- Received: 26 October 2007
- Accepted: 26 February 2008
- Published: 26 February 2008
Nigeria is home to more people living with HIV than any other country in the world, except South Africa and India-where an estimated 2.9 million [1.7 million – 4.2 million] people were living with the virus in 2005. A systematic assessment of recent HIV/AIDS research output from Nigeria is not available. Without objective information about the current deficiencies and strengths in the HIV research output from Nigeria, it is difficult to plan substantial improvements in HIV/AIDS research that could enhance population health. The aim of this study was to analyse the trends in Nigeria's SCI publications in HIV/AIDS from 1980 to 2006. Special attention was paid to internationally collaborated works that were identified based on the countries of the authors' affiliation.
A bibliometric analysis regarding Nigerian HIV/AIDS research was conducted in the ISI databases for the period of 1980 to 2006. An attempt was made to identify the patterns of the growth in HIV/AIDS literature, as well as type of document published, authorship, institutional affiliations of authors, and subject content. International collaboration was deemed to exist in an article if any co-author's affiliation was located outside Nigeria. The impact factors in the 2006 Journal Citations Reports Science Edition was arbitrarily adopted to estimate the quality of articles.
Nigeria's ISI publications in HIV/AIDS increased from one articles in 1987 to 33 in 2006, and the articles with international collaboration increased from one articles in 1980 to 16 in 2006. Articles with international collaboration appeared in journals with higher impact factors and received more citations. A high pattern of co-authorship was found. Over 85% of the articles were published in collaboration among two or more authors. The USA, as the most important collaborating partner of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS researchers, contributed 30.8% of articles with international collaboration.
Nigeria has achieved a significant increase in the number of SCI publications and collaborations in HIV literature from 1987 to 2005. There is need to challenge the status, scientists from Nigeria should forge multiple collaborations beyond historical, political, and cultural lines to share knowledge and expertise on HIV/AIDS.
- Impact Factor
- International Collaboration
- Bibliometric Analysis
- Journal Citation Report
- Journal Impact Factor
Nigeria is home to more people living with HIV than any other country in the world, except South Africa and India-where an estimated 2.9 million [1.7 million – 4.2 million] people were living with the virus in 2005 . One vital element in improving this situation is the need for a comprehensive and relevant evidence base that would equip Nigeria to take informed actions. A systematic assessment of recent HIV/AIDS research output from Nigeria is not available. Without objective information about the current deficiencies and strengths in the HIV research output from Nigeria, it is difficult to plan substantial improvements in HIV/AIDS research that could enhance population health. Bibliometrics has a long tradition as the preferred method of choice for quantitative assessments of academic research on national, institutional, and individual levels [2–5]. Bibliometric analysis has also been performed within and across the above mentioned levels in the evaluation of research areas [6–9]. The aim of this study was to analyse the trends in Nigeria's SCI publications in HIV/AIDS from 1980 to 2006. Special attention was paid to internationally collaborated works that were identified based on the countries of the authors' affiliation.
PS = (Abia OR Adamawa OR Akwa Ibom OR Anambra OR Bauchi OR Bayelsa OR Benue OR Borno OR Cross River OR Delta OR Ebonyi OR Edo OR Ekiti OR Enugu OR Abuja OR Gombe OR Imo OR Jigawa OR Kaduna OR Kano OR Katsina OR Kebbi OR Kogi OR Kwara OR Lagos OR Nassarawa OR Niger OR Ogun OR Ondo OR Osun OR Oyo OR Plateau OR Rivers OR Sokoto OR Taraba OR Yobe OR Zamfara)
CI = (Umuahia OR Yola OR Uyo OR Awka OR Bauchi OR Yenagoa OR Makurdi OR Maiduguri OR Calabar OR Asaba OR Abakaliki OR Benin City OR Ado-Ekiti OR Enugu OR Abuja OR Gombe OR Owerri OR Dutse OR Kaduna OR Kano OR Katsina OR Birnin Kebbi OR Lokoja OR Ilorin OR Ikeja OR Lafia OR Minna OR Abeokuta OR Akure OR Oshogbo OR Ibadan OR Jos OR Port Harcourt OR Sokoto OR Jalingo OR Damaturu OR Gusau)
CU = (NIGERIA)
No 1 OR No 2 OR No 3
TS = (HIV Infections OR HIV OR hiv-1* OR hiv-2* OR hiv1 OR hiv2 OR hiv infect* OR human immunodeficiency virus OR human immunedeficiency virus OR human immuno-deficiency virus OR human immune-deficiency virus OR acquired immunodeficiency syndrome OR acquired immunedeficiency syndrome OR acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome OR acquired immune-deficiency syndrome OR AIDS)
TI = (HIV Infections OR HIV OR hiv-1* OR hiv-2* OR hiv1 OR hiv2 OR hiv infect* OR human immunodeficiency virus OR human immunedeficiency virus OR human immuno-deficiency virus OR human immune-deficiency virus OR acquired immunodeficiency syndrome OR acquired immunedeficiency syndrome OR acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome OR acquired immune-deficiency syndrome OR AIDS)
No 5 OR No 6
No 4 AND No 7
No 8 LIMITS: DocType = Article OR Review; Language = All languages; Year = 1980 to 2006
The impact factors of 6, 164 journals listed in the 2006 Journal Citation Reports Science Edition®  were arbitrarily adopted to estimate the quality of articles. Analysis was limited to the "articles" and reviews papers indexed to HIV/AIDS in the ISI database. Notes, letters, editorials, news and meeting abstracts were excluded. Authors' affiliations and countries were identified from the fields of affiliation and corresponding address. International collaboration was deemed to exist in an article if any co-author's affiliation was located outside Nigeria. Publication counts and the share of articles with international collaboration in each year was computed. The data were then stratified by journal impact factor, subject category, domestic institution and collaborating country. To accredit an article to institutions and countries, method of "absolute country counting" was adopted, in which each institution or country contributing to an article received one paper credit, respectively .
Besides the descriptive statistics (e.g. the frequency in count and percentage), the associations between number of articles and the share of articles with international collaboration in each year; and between the article count of the subject categories and their share of articles with international collaboration was also computed using Kendall's tau-b correlation coefficient. Difference in number of citations received by an article and the impact factor of the journal in which an article was published between (1) group of articles with international collaboration and articles without international collaboration, (2) articles with four or more authors and articles with fewer than four authors were compared using Mann-Whitney U test. The cut-off points for number of authors is based on the median value. A p value < 0.05 was regarded as statistically significant (2-tailed). Statistical analyses were performed using Stata 10.0 for Windows .
Production and authorship
Distribution of the number of authors per publication
Number of authors
Number of publication
2 – 5
6 – 10
11 – 15
Journal impact factors and citations
Distribution of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications in the Web of Science by journal impact factors
Journal impact factor*
No. of all articles
Articles with foreign address, n(%)
≥ 4 and < 5
≥ 3 and < 4
≥ 2 and < 3
≥ 1 and < 2
Distribution of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications in the Web of Science by Nigerian institutions (selected)
University of Ibadan
Obafemi Awolowo University
University Nigeria Nsukka
University College Ibadan Hospital
Federal Ministry of Health
Nigerian Institute of Medical Research
Ahmadu Bello University
Ondo State University
University Port Harcourt
Ahmadu Bello University Hosp
Aminu Kano Teaching Hosp
Chidak Med Diagnost Labs
Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Distribution of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications with international collaboration in the Web of Science by collaborating (selected)
Number of publications
Distribution of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications in the Web of Science by United States institutions
Centers for Disease Control Prevention
National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development
Johns Hopkins University
National Cancer Institute
University South California
University Western Ontario
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Family Health International
University of Michigan
Subject category and Source titles
Distribution of Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications in the Web of Science by subject category (selected)
Number of articles
Public, environmental & occupational health
Medicine, general & internal
Social sciences, biomedical
Health policy & services
Biotechnology & applied microbiology
Obstetrics & gynecology
Medicine, research & experimental
Dentistry, oral surgery & medicine
Education & educational research
Pharmacology & pharmacy
Medical laboratory technology
Health care sciences & services
This study was a purely descriptive analysis about Nigeria's SCI publications in HIV/AIDS research for over two decades and arbitrarily adopted co-authorship as an indicator of collaboration. The results showed a continuous increases and reassuring trends in the number of HIV literature production from Nigeria. However, no records were found for period between 1980 and 1986. This finding is consistent with data from other study  that has examined this variable. However, the finding is not consistent with those of others [15–17]. Huber  found no records in AIDSLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and MEDLINE for the years 1980 through 1982. Macias-Chapula  found no records for the period between 1980 and 1981. Pratt  reported in 1992 that AIDS literature in MEDLINE grew from fewer than 700 entries for the period 1981 through 1983 to a cumulative total of 29, 077 entries by the end of 1990.
Contrary to previous study , the study showed that the proportion of internationally co-authored articles in Nigeria's HIV/AIDS publications remained high during the study period. Some bibliometricians reported that 15.6% of the records in the SCI database in 2000 were internationally co-authored . This and a previous study  found that articles with international collaboration appeared in journals with higher impact factors and received more citations. However, the causality was uncertain. A possible explanation for this could be that researcher sought foreign involvement only for better themes that were of broader interest and suitable for journals with higher impact factors. Furthermore, Roberts  argue that part of the explanation for the higher impact factor is probably that only the strongest researchers will have the resources and motivation to overcome the difficulties of collaboration over a distance, and that the biggest and highest profile projects are more likely to be international.
It is important to note that United States institutions formed most of institutional contributors; result that is congruent with the finding of previous studies [16, 18]. Echoing general observation made by Professor Sir Gareth that USA, as the world's biggest research economy, is the preferred partner for international research partnerships and makes a significant contribution to the leading edge performance of collaborating nations .
A high pattern of co-authorship was found. Over 85% of the articles were published in collaboration among two or more authors. This finding is consistent with an earlier study from Haiti . The results also show that articles with more than four authors appeared in journals with higher impact factors and received more citations; this finding is intriguing and would need benefit from further exploration. About one third of the records indexed to public, environment and occupational health subject category; and only 1.9% were indexed to education and educational research. This is consistent with a previous report . This finding suggests the type of research that is needed. More research on prevention and control are needed to guide evidence-based HIV prevention programs.
Potential limitations of the study are related to the database used to retrieve articles. ISI databases do not represent all scientific and biomedical journals published. Many articles of importance appear in journals other than those indexed in ISI database. Other limitations include the incorrect or multiple citations of the subject category that was generally used in compilation of the annual Journal Citation Reports® presented in each ISI record. One journal with its articles might be indexed with several subject categories. Absolute country counting was adopted in accrediting an article to countries and might have overlooked the indirect collaboration relationships. Research collaboration might exist in several forms and levels: individual, group, department, institution, sector, and nation . As noted by Chen et al , adopting a single impact factor value to judge a journal could create some discrepancies. This study used 2006 Journal Citation Reports. The 2006 JCR reported the performance of journals published in 2004 and 2005. However, the articles that were retrieved from the Web of Science were distributed between 1987 and 2006. The journal impact factor changes from year to year. The major limitation in analyzing the institutional research performance in Nigeria was the number of research staff in each institution was unknown. Therefore, the study could not examine the potential confounding effect of number of research staff on HIV research production.
In summary, Nigeria achieved a significant increase in the number of SCI publications and collaborations in HIV literature from 1987 to 2005. As noted by Katz et al , research collaboration is good and should be encouraged. Yet there exists opportunity for improvement in international collaboration. There is need to challenge the status, scientists from Nigeria should forge multiple collaborations beyond historical, political, and cultural lines to share knowledge and expertise on HIV/AIDS. Research has helped to quantify HIV associated morbidity and mortality, identified strategies to improve health of people living with HIV/AIDS, and shown the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS preventive interventions. Furthermore, comparison analyses of HIV/AIDS literature production in Nigeria with other countries from sub-Saharan need to be conducted to obtain a more complete regional picture of the situation. These analyses will provide further support to AIDS researchers, health policy analyst, and librarians or information officers in the sub-Saharan Africa.
The author thanks Elpidoforos S Soteriades and Jose Manuel Ramos for critical review of an earlier version of this manuscript.
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