Bibliometrics of Nicaraguan publications in the Science Citation Index Expanded
Nicaragua is a small country in Central America and little has been published about its scientific output. Most of its publications available in international databases are about medicine and are produced by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (Managua) as part of international collaborative teams. In this article we analyzed in more depth, and for a longer period than any previous study, the presence of Nicaraguan publications in the Science Citation Index Expanded until January, 2016. In total, 837 Nicaraguan articles were published in 456 journals (the top journal is the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene). Internationally collaborative articles with 94 countries accounted for 92 % of articles, while only 8.5 % were exclusively Nicaraguan. The most cited article described the use of ketoconazole to treat Leishmaniasis. The authors with more publications in the database were A. Balmaseda, R. Peña, W. Strauch, and F. Bucardo. The top cited, exclusively Nicaraguan articles dealt with health problems, forest tenure, and food production. The article citation lifespan is surprisingly long: over 70 years. Most citations start seven years after publication and are not recorded by the Science Citation Index, which for that reason cannot be considered valid to evaluate the impact of Nicaraguan research. The predominance of English publications may reflect a bias of the database itself. Probably most of the scientific production of Nicaraguan scientists is published in Spanish, in many regional journals not included in the SCI-EXPANDED. Nicaraguan research centers lack appropriate infrastructure, staffing and financial resources: future achievements for Nicaraguan science should include a fair presence of female researchers, peer-to-peer level participation in international teams, and less dominance of health technologies.