Tuberculosis Research in India and China: From Bibliometrics to Research Policy

S. Arunachalam and S. Gunasekaran


India and China lead the world in the incidence of tuberculosis (TB), accounting for 23% and 17% respectively, of the global burden of the disease and hold the 15th and the 18th positions in terms of incidence per 100,000 population. But India accounts for only about 5–6% of the world’s research output in this area and China a paltry 1% as seen from papers indexed in three international databases, viz. PubMed, Science Citation Index and Biochemistry and Biophysics Citation Index over the ten-year period 1990–1999. Thus there is a tremendous mismatch between the share of the burden of the disease and share of research efforts. Is such mismatch acceptable? It raises the question ‘should resource-poor countries invest in research or should they depend on research performed elsewhere and invest their meagre resources predominantly in health-care measures?’ We argue that both India and China should invest much more in research than they do. We have also mapped TB research in the two countries and identified institutions and cities active in research, journals used to publish the findings, use of high impact journals, impact of their research as seen from citations received and extent of international collaboration. Although China performs much less research than India and its work is quoted much less often, it seems to have done far better than India in health-care delivery in TB. Perhaps the Chinese are better able to translate know-how into do-how than the Indians.


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