Bibliometric Analysis of Acta Stomatologica Croatica: 1987-2006
Vesna Borić (1), Mihovil Strujić (2)
1 - University of Zagreb, School of Dental Medicine, Central Library of Dental Medicine
2 - University of Zagreb, School of Dental Medicine, Department of Orthodontics
Address for correspondence:
University of Zagreb
School of Dental Medicine
Central Library of Dental Medicine
HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Received: November 30, 2006
Accepted: December 5, 2006
Available online: December 15, 2006
Acta Stomatol Croat. 2006;40(4):336-46.
Original scientific article
This article presents a bibliometrical analysis of the journal Acta Stomatologica Croatica from 1987 until 2006. The sample consists of 711 articles, categorized as original scientific articles, preliminary publications, reviews, professional papers, editorials, congress presentations, case reports, and one bibliography. The analysis included publications (according to number, type, language and number of pages), authors (institutional affiliation and country of origin), used bibliographical citations (references, according to type and date of used data) and independent citations and self-citations. The analyis of the number of articles shows that most articles are original scientific works (62.2%). Out of the total number of the articles between 1987 and 1997, 46.7% was published in Croatian, 8.6% in English. Since 1998 all articles were published bilingually (44.7%). Analyzed articles cite a total of 16597 articles, giving a mean of 23.3 references per article. Most references are from foreign journals (76.9%), then from foreign books (10.8%), articles from Croatian journals (6.1%), Croatian books (5.8%), electronic data (0.3%), and other sources (0.1%). 30% of references were published in the last five years. The share of independent citations is 94.1%, giving a mean 22 independent references per article. Mean number of authors is 3.3, maximum being 9; the articles with three authors have the highest percentage (23.1%).
The addresses of clinical institutions are most frequent (84), followed by scientific and educational and other (20), and scientific ones (9). Authors from 35 countries have published their work in the analyzed journal during the observed period.
Key Words: bibliometrics; journals; publishing
The main goal of scientific studies is discovering knowledge about ourselves and everything that surrounds us. In order to make the results of such studies available to a wider audience, scientists and researchers use formal and informal ways of communication. The most important formal communication canal is a scientific or professional journal. This fact was identified at the School of Dental Medicine in Zagreb back in 1966 and a journal was founded – the only Croatian dental scientific journal that is being published ever since – Acta Stomatologica Croatica (ASCRO). Since 2006 saw the 40th issue of this journal, the anniversary was used as an opportunity to analyze the history of the journal. First analysis of ASCRO was published following the 15th anniversary of the journal (1), and by adding the following five issues, the 20th anniversary was also marked with a supplement – Bibliography of ASCRO 1996-1986 (2).
Since founding, ASCRO is a one issue per-year journal with four numbers yearly. The editor in chief from 1966 until his death in 1989 was prof. dr. sc. Zdenko Njemirovskij. The last number he edited also saw his obituary (3). After his death, the editorial chair was occupied by prof. dr. sc. Vladimir Lapter, from number 4 in 1989 until 29th issue in 1995. Prof. dr. sc. Goran Knežević became editor in chief in 1996, publishin 30th issue and all subsequent ones until the 40th issue, when the editorial work was taken over by prof. dr. sc. Hrvoje Brkić.
Every editor has certainly felt a great challenge in the growing possibilities of advancing new knowledge to contemporary and future scientists and professionals. The greatest technological change since the discovery of printing in 15th century was the information technology that changed the pace of information exchange radically. Gradual growth of information technology and the development of Internet have increased the accessibility of information sources from all human fields of activity. But these changes are particularly interesting in publishing, science and library science.
Professional publishers and printers have accepted the advantages of new technologies and soon begun to publish both printed and electronic versions of their publications, and in the next phase, part of their publications is published only electronically – a real electronic publication. In the beginning, they used floppy discs, then compact discs (CDs), but since Internet as a medium offers numerous comparative advantages, the online accessibility today represents the possibility of choice for electronic publishers. This has been recognized by the new editorial board of ASCRO that has started the 40th issue with the online publication at the website http://www.ascro.net. National office for ISSN publication has given the journal the key title Acta Stomatologica Croatica (Online), the shortened key title Acta Stomatol Croat (Online), and the alpha-numerical identification ISSN 1846-0410.
Scientists and librarians have also recognized the outstanding possibilities of new technology, but they have also made many questions. One of those is the role of the publisher in this new climate. Starting from the basic presumption that the knowledge is the heritage of all mankind, an idea was born, stating that all results of scientific work must be accessible for all in need. The idea took shape in the first journals and books with free access on the Internet. Such initiatives are today known as Open Access Movement, gradually acquiring institutionalized frame throught the Budapest Open Access Initiative (4), Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (5), the Berlin Declaration (6), and others. The Editorial office of ASCRO has recognized and supported the idea of the free access to full text journals for non-commercial use by means of webpages of the journal, as well as by including ASCRO in the Portal of scientific journals of the Republic of Croatia (Hrčak) (7). The visibility of the journal is increased to the maximum, as well as the accessibility of the published information, that will be reviewed by the world scientific community.
The aim of this study was to perform the bibliometric analysis of the last 20 years of the journal, and to compare the results with the first 20 years, as well as with similar analyses of other journals.
Materials and methods
Twenty issues of the journal were included in the analysis (1987-2006), and the sample consisted of 711 articles: original scientific articles, preliminary communications, reviews, professional papers, congress communications, editorials, case reports and one bibliography, but it did not include congress abstracts, letters to the editor and news. The data on articles was imported partly from the Biomedicina Croatica database, and partly from the Croatian scientific bibliography and the journal itself. All data was imported in MS Access relation database that was used for the analysis.
Bibliographic analysis include articles (number, type, language, number of pages), authors (number and institutional affiliation and country of origin), used references (number, type and date of publication), and independent citations and self-citations.
Self-citations were articles which were authored or co-authored by any of the co-authors of the citing article.
The institutions were classified as scientific-educational (schools, faculties), scientific (scientific institutes), clinical (clinics, hospitals, healthcare centers, private practices), and other institutions that are not included in any of the stated categories. Regarding the articles from other countries, only the country of origin was noted, due to the difficult affiliation identification during the last 20 years.
The countries were registered according to the current political situation, except for Serbia and Montenegro that were registered as Yugoslavia, since there were no articles published after the separation of these states. Only the articles originating from these two countries are registered under “Yugoslavia”, and all other countries that appeared after the collapse of Yugoslavia are registered under their respective names.
Analysis of articles
Total number of articles is 711, resulting in 35.6 articles yearly. The lowest number of articles was published in 1990 (28), and the highest in 1997 (43 articles, figure 1).
The page number analysis showed that the articles were published in a total of 6199 pages, resulting in 310 pages per issue and 8.7 pages per article. The lowest number of pages was in 1996 (180), and the highest in 1998 (477). The number of pages per year is shown in figure 2.
The analysis of the type of articles showed that original scientific articles amount to 62.2% (442), professional articles to 14.9% (98), case reports to 4.9% (35), preliminary communications to 2.5% (18), congress presentations to 1% (7), editorials to 0.6% (4) and bibliographies to 0.1% (1) of the total.
Out of the total number of the articles between 1987 and 1997, 46.7% was published in Croatian, 8.6% in English. Since 1998 all articles were published bilingually (44.7%). The number of articles per year and language is shown in table 1.
There were 16597 references in total, amounting to 23.3 references per article. The highest number of references are from the foreign journals (12754, 76.9%), followed by foreign books (1784, 10.8%), Croatian journal articles (1013, 6.1%), Croatian books (965, 5.8%), electronical publications (61, 0.3%) and others (19, 0.1%). Mean number of references in all types of bibliographic items can be seen in table 2.
If results for Croatian and foreign journals and books are added together, the result is that 13676 (83%) of all used references are articles and 2749 (16.6%) are books, amounting to 99.6% of all references. Only 0.4% remains for electronical publications and other sources.
Detailed analysis of cited articles by type has shown that Croatian articles are mostly cited in professional papers, foreign articles (82.3%) in reviews, Croatian books (8,5%) in professional articles, foreign books (15%) in case reports, as well as electronic publications (1%), and other sources equally in professional papers and reviews (0.3%).
5019 (30%) cited articles were published during the last five years from the publication date. Seven references per article are not older than five years; the percentages per year can be seen in figure 3.
The number of independent citations is 15619 (94.1%), amounting to 22 independent citations per article. The highest number of independent cited articles is 135, out of 135 references in this article, this being the highest number of cited articles in the sample.
Number of self-citations is 979 (5.9%), amounting to 1.4 self-citations per article. The highest number of self-citations in an article is 18, out of 47 references in that article. The number of independent references and self-references is depicted in figure 4.
Total number of authors was obtained by adding the authors of all articles. The total of 711 articles was written by 1136 authors. Mean number of authors per article is 3.3, and the highest number is 9. The number and percentage of authors per years is shown in figure 5.
Numbers and percentages of single-authore to nine-author articles are shown in table 4, clearly indicating that most of the articles have three authors (164).
Authors’ affiliations were classified according to the type of institution as scientific-educational, scientific, clinical and other. The highest number of affiliations come from clinical institutions (84), followed by scientific-educational and others (20), and scientific institutions (9). Authors with foreign affiliations were recorded only according to the country of origin; there were authors from 35 states.*
585 articles were authored by persons from scientific-educational institutions, 234 from clinical institutions, 34 from scientific institutions, and 30 from other institutions; 88 articles were authored by foreign authors.
* List of authors' countries of origin: Australia, Austia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brasil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kirghistan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yugoslavia
Table 1 Number of articles per year and language
Table 2 Structure of used references per year
Table 3 Structure of used references per type of citing article
Table 4 Distribution of articles according to the number of authors
Discussion and conclusions
The analysis of 20 years of ASCRO has included 711 articles that amount to 35.6 articles per year. The oscillations during the years were not great, the lowest number being 20 in 1990 and the highest 43 in 1997 (figure 1). If we compare these figures to those of the first 20 years (562 published articles, 28.1 article per year) (2), we can conclude that the gradual increase in the number of published articles confirmes the success of a well-established journal accepted by the scientists and professional, with a stable editorial policy. The Homeland war (1991-1995) has slightly affected the continuity of the journal, but the editorial office must be given credit for letting it amount just to the delay in publication of some numbers.
During the analyzed period, the articles were published on 6199 pages, 310 pages per issue (figure 2). A notable rise can be seen since 1998, when a decision was made to publish the journal bilingually (Croatian and English), thus contributing to the development of professional terminology in Croatian and enhancing the communication with the world scientific community (table 1). For the first 11 analyzed years the mean number of pages per issue was 245.8, and in the last 9 years it is 383 pages per issue. If we compare first 20 issues of the journal we can see that they were printed on a total of 4069 pages, amounting to 204 pages per issue and 7.2 pages per article. The increase in the mean number of pages per issue from 28.1 to 35.6 is a consequence of a decision to publish the journal bilingually.
Articles’ analysis showed that 62.2% of the articles are original scientific papers, 14.9% are professional papers, 13.8% are reviews, 4.9% case reports, 2.5% are preliminary reports, 1% are congress presentations, 0.6% editorials, and 0.1% bibliography. The categorizarion of ASCRO articles has started with number 3 of issue 15 in 1981, using UNESCO classification. This is the reason why the first 20 years were analyzed accordin to Pierce’s classification (ex cathedra – less than 10 references, “normal” – 10 to 20 references), and reviews (more than 20 references). Since such an analysis was not possible, we included some other analyses and results. For example, the analysis of Zagreb School of Dental Medicine productivity (8) gives information that 82.5% of all published articles are original scientific articles. One can conclude that Croatian dentists publish more in the secondary bibliographical databases, which is not surprising, regarding the decision of the National board for science and Rector’s regulations on advancement. The analysis of the journal “Polimeri” has shown that 22.9% of articles were scientific, 46.5% were professional, and 30.6% were other articles, confirming this journal as a professional journal (9).
References’ analysis has shown a total of 16597 references, with a mean number of 23.3 references per article (table 2). 76.9% of all citations are from foreign and 6.1% from Croatian journals – total of 83% of references are from journals. They have also stated 10.8% of foreign and 5.8% Croatian books, amounting to 16.6% from the books. The lowest number of references is from electronic (0.3%) and other sources (0.1%). Electronic sources are so scarcely present due to the fact that their use has just started in Croatia. Electronic source reference first appeared in 2003, correlating with first online and printed subscription to dental journals in Croatia. Citation habits differ, so it is interesting to see other data. For example, J Nat Rubber Res has 84.9% of all references leading back to journals (71.8%) and books (13.1%) (10); Arch Bronconeumol has 86.7% for the journals and only 3.5% for the books (11). By comparing our results to the references used in master and Ph.D theses at the University of Akron, Ohio (USA) we can see similar results. The journals were present in 72.8%, books in 15.4% and all other sources with less that 12% (12).
Total of 4999 (30%) of references were published less than five years before the citing article. The percentage per year is between 25.9 and 40.4 (figure 3), with 20% median. When this data is compared to the first 20 years (lowest 21%, median 32%) (2), one can confirm the continuity of the literature use.
The analysis of independent citations and self-citations shows that 94.1% of all citations are independent citations, and 5.9% are self-citations (figure 4). If we compare the number of self-citations with the data for Croatian anthropologists (13), we can see that the number is ten times greater (59.6% compared to 5.9%). ASCRO authors are not using self-citation to a great extent. Although self-citation varies significantly in different scientific fields, it must nor always draw to negative conclusions. It is considered that 15-25% of all citations that are self-citations is acceptable. Similar results were obtained in a study analyzing Arcn Bronconeumol (11).
Author’s analysis showed that 711 articles were written by 1136 authors, 3.3 authors per article, which is less than Croatian average (3.82) (8). Since first analysis did not include the authors, it is impossible to compare first and second 20 years of ASCRO regarding the number of authors.
The results of this analysis confirm that ASCRO has a stable editorial policy and that it is well accepted in scientific and professional circles in Croatian and foreign dental medicine. Numerical indicators do not abstain significantly when compared to other scientific and professional journals, so the constant quality increase of published works will move ASCRO closer to the goal, the indexation in the leading secondary publication databases in the world.
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