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      Macular disease research in the United Kingdom 2011–2014: a bibliometric analysis of outputs, performance and coverage

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          Bibliometric indicators, based on measuring patterns of publications and citations, are widely used by universities and research funders to assess research performance. Our aims were to: (1) perform a bibliometric analysis of UK macular disease research publications from 2011 to 2014 and compare this with the other countries producing major output in the area, and (2) compare the pattern of UK macular disease publication with the priorities for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) developed by the Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership (SLV-PSP).


          We used the Scopus database to retrieve macular disease articles published from 2011 to 2014. Citations to articles from 2011 to 2013 and journal impact factors (JIFs) for 2014 articles were obtained. Articles with UK authors were allocated to the 10 SLV-PSP priorities for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), where possible.


          The UK, USA, and Germany and China were the top four producers of macular disease research from 2011 to 2013. All except China had a higher proportion of citations than articles. There were 421 articles with UK authors published from 2011 to 2014, of which 49 % had international collaborators. The UK produced 9.7 % of the world’s output of macular disease articles from 2011 to 2013, but received 14.2 % of the world’s share of citations. UK authors’ share of the world’s top 10 % of cited publications from 2011 to 2013 was 16.2 %. In 2014, 13.2 % of UK articles were in journals in the top 10 % when ranked by Journal Impact Factors (JIFs), while the overall UK article share for that year was 9.9 %. UK articles did not show a strong correlation between citations and JIFs. The SLV-PSP published a set of 10 priorities for research into age-related macular degeneration in October 2103. Only 8 % of the UK’s 2011–2014 publications matched the SLV-PSP top priority (treatment to stop dry AMD progressing) and 34 % did not match any of the SLV-PSP priorities, mainly because the priorities did not include invasive treatment of wet AMD.


          The UK is performing well in macular research, based on bibliometric indicators. The distribution of past research topics does not match the priorities set by the SLV-PSP.

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          Most cited references 18

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          The estimated prevalence and incidence of late stage age related macular degeneration in the UK

          Background UK estimates of age related macular degeneration (AMD) occurrence vary. Aims To estimate prevalence, number and incidence of AMD by type in the UK population aged ≥50 years. Methods Age-specific prevalence rates of AMD obtained from a Bayesian meta-analysis of AMD prevalence were applied to UK 2007–2009 population data. Incidence was estimated from modelled age-specific prevalence. Results Overall prevalence of late AMD was 2.4% (95% credible interval (CrI) 1.7% to 3.3%), equivalent to 513 000 cases (95% CrI 363 000 to 699 000); estimated to increase to 679 000 cases by 2020. Prevalences were 4.8% aged ≥65 years, 12.2% aged ≥80 years. Geographical atrophy (GA) prevalence rates were 1.3% (95% CrI 0.9% to 1.9%), 2.6% (95% CrI 1.8% to 3.7%) and 6.7% (95% CrI 4.6% to 9.6%); neovascular AMD (NVAMD) 1.2% (95% CrI 0.9% to 1.7%), 2.5% (95% CrI 1.8% to 3.4%) and 6.3% (95% CrI 4.5% to 8.6%), respectively. The estimated number of prevalent cases of late AMD were 60% higher in women versus men (314 000 cases in women, 192 000 men). Annual incidence of late AMD, GA and NVAMD per 1000 women was 4.1 (95% CrI 2.4% to 6.8%), 2.4 (95% CrI 1.5% to 3.9%) and 2.3 (95% CrI 1.4% to 4.0%); in men 2.6 (95% CrI 1.5% to 4.4%), 1.7 (95% CrI 1.0% to 2.8%) and 1.4 (95% CrI 0.8% to 2.4%), respectively. 71 000 new cases of late AMD were estimated per year. Conclusions These estimates will guide health and social service provision for those with late AMD and enable estimation of the cost of introducing new treatments.
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            Impact factor distortions.

             Bruce Alberts (2013)
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              A comparison of the causes of blindness certifications in England and Wales in working age adults (16–64 years), 1999–2000 with 2009–2010

              Objectives To report on the causes of blindness certifications in England and Wales in working age adults (16–64 years) in 2009–2010; and to compare these with figures from 1999 to 2000. Design Analysis of the national database of blindness certificates of vision impairment (CVIs) received by the Certifications Office. Setting and participants Working age (16–64 years) population of England and Wales. Main outcome measures Number and cause of blindness certifications. Results The Certifications Office received 1756 CVIs for blindness from persons aged between 16 and 64 inclusive between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010. The main causes of blindness certifications were hereditary retinal disorders (354 certifications comprising 20.2% of the total), diabetic retinopathy/maculopathy (253 persons, 14.4%) and optic atrophy (248 persons, 14.1%). Together, these three leading causes accounted for almost 50% of all blindness certifications. Between 1 April 1999 and 31 March 2000, the leading causes of blindness certification were diabetic retinopathy/maculopathy (17.7%), hereditary retinal disorders (15.8%) and optic atrophy (10.1%). Conclusions For the first time in at least five decades, diabetic retinopathy/maculopathy is no longer the leading cause of certifiable blindness among working age adults in England and Wales, having been overtaken by inherited retinal disorders. This change may be related to factors including the introduction of nationwide diabetic retinopathy screening programmes in England and Wales and improved glycaemic control. Inherited retinal disease, now representing the commonest cause of certification in the working age population, has clinical and research implications, including with respect to the provision of care/resources in the NHS and the allocation of research funding.

                Author and article information

                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 December 2015
                30 December 2015
                : 8
                Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL UK
                © Royle and Waugh. 2015

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: The Macular Society
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                © The Author(s) 2015


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