Who tells the story of burns in low-and-middle income countries? – A bibliometric study

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Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remain drastically underrepresented in health research, with African countries producing less than 1% of the global output. This work investigates authorship patterns of publications on burns in LMICs. Original research studies addressing burn injuries in LMICs and published between 1st January 2015 and 31st December 2020 were included in the review. Descriptive statistics were performed for country affiliations of authors, World Bank Country Income Groups, WHO group, study-focus and country studied. Of the 458 results, 426 studies met the inclusion criteria. Nearly a quarter of papers on burns in LMICs had both first and senior authors from high-income countries (HICs, n = 95, 24.4%), more than half of the papers had both first and senior authors from upper middle- income countries (upper MICs, n = 222, 57.2%), while less than 1% (n = 3) had first and senior authors exclusively from lower-income countries (LICs). Eleven percent (n = 41/388) of all papers were written without either first nor senior author being from the country studied, and 17 of them (41%) had both first and senior authors from the USA. Twenty-five (6%) of the papers had the first author and not the senior author from the country of focus, while six (2%) had the senior and not the first author from the country of interest. To overcome global health challenges such as burns, locally led research is imperative. The maximum benefit of HIC-LMIC collaborations is achieved when LMICs play an active role in leading the research. When LMICs direct the research being conducted in their country, the harm of inherently inequitable relationships is minimized

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