Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess whether publications of importance for improving the health system and its technologies are highly cited intrascientifically.
Methods: Bibliometric assessment of the 596 publications used as sources in the fifty SBU Alerts from 2001to 2004 from the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care was carried out using the Thomson Scientific citation indexes. Normalized citation scores were calculated for all included studies. Additional factors such as the time and place of the research, subject categories, and journal source were analyzed.
Results: On average, the sources in SBU Alert have been cited eight times more than the world average consistently during the time period and across research areas. Articles used as its scientific basis are often published in a few, high impact, general medical journals. However, many of the articles are published in field-specific journals with low impact factors. Most articles used in SBU Alert are published by authors based in the United States or the United Kingdom. However, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch publications are overrepresented in its science base, whereas Japanese, Taiwanese, Indian, and Russian publications are underrepresented.
Conclusions: Publications used as sources in a Swedish system for identification and early assessment of new methods in health care are also highly cited within the scientific community. This finding increases the appropriateness of using bibliometric indicators in evaluations of clinical research and suggests that decision makers through SBU Alert are getting scientifically sound advice.