The language of all medical publications and spine publications from 1950 to 2020

Nicolas Pascual-Leone, Jennifer W. Liu, Alexander Beschloss, Srish S. Chenna, Comron Saifi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Excellent research in all fields, including spine surgery, exists in many different regions and languages. This study seeks to determine the relative number of spine related peer-reviewed publications throughout the world based on language. Methods: Peer-reviewed publications from the eleven most prolific languages in regard to both the number of peer-reviewed spine publications indexed in PubMed and total peer-reviewed publications from 1950-2020 were identified in PubMed. Results: 29,711,547 peer-reviewed publications were analyzed for the languages of interest with 870,404 (3.0%) of those being spine related peer-reviewed publications. Between 1988 and 2019, non-English language peer-reviewed publications decreased annually for both all peer-reviewed publications and spine related peer-reviewed publications by 44% and 36%, respectively. All medical and spine specific peer reviewed publications in English compared to non-English publications have increased by 7.22 and 6.35 times since 1988, respectively. While the ratio of non-English to English spine related publications decreased in all eleven countries, the percentage of the number of spine specific publications written in Chinese (462%), Portuguese (378%), and Spanish (88%) have increased by the listed percentages. Conclusion: While the proportion of peer-reviewed publications in the field of spine surgery written in English have increased over the past several decades, there are many non-English language peer-reviewed publications each year, particularly in Chinese. Although the rapid increase in the proportion of English spine related publications is beneficial to English speaking physicians and researchers, further research is necessary to understand the impact on non-English speaking physicians and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100118
JournalNorth American Spine Society Journal
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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