Language and Geographic Representation of Neurosurgical Journals: A Meta-Science Study

Nathan A. Shlobin*, Maria A. Punchak, Andre E. Boyke, Molly Beestrum, Karen Gutzman, Gail Rosseau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Medical journals have a role in promoting representation of neurosurgeons who speak primary languages other than English. We sought to characterize the language of publication and geographic origin of neurosurgical journals, delineate associations between impact factor (IF) and language and geographic variables, and describe steps to overcome language barriers to publishing. Methods: Web of Science, Scopus, and Ulrich's Serial Analysis system were searched for neurosurgery journals. The journals were screened for relevance. Language of publication, country and World Health Organization region, World Bank income status and gross domestic product, and citation metrics were extracted. Results: Of 867 journals, 74 neurosurgical journals were included. Common publication languages were English (52, 70.3%), Mandarin (5, 6.8%), and Spanish (4, 5.4%). Countries of publication for the greatest number of journals were the United States (23, 31.1%), United Kingdom (8, 10.8%), and China (6, 8.1%). Most journals originated from the Americas region (29, 39.2%), the European region (28, 37.8%), and from high-income countries (n = 54, 73.0%). Median IF was 1.55 (interquartile range [IQR] 0.89–2.40). Journals written in English (1.77 [IQR 1.00–2.87], P = 0.032) and from high-income countries (1.81 [IQR 1.0–2.70], P = 0.046) had highest median IF. When excluding outliers, there was a small but positive correlation between per capita gross domestic product and IF (β = 0.021, P = 0.03, R2 = 0.097). Conclusions: Language concordance represents a substantial barrier to research equity in neurosurgery, limiting dissemination of ideas of merit that currently have inadequate outlets for readership. Initiatives aimed at increasing the accessibility of neurosurgical publishing to underrepresented authors are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Global health
  • Global neurosurgery
  • Global surgery
  • Health disparities
  • Health equity
  • Neurological surgery
  • Research equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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