Research Article| Volume 38, 101862, February 2020

Scientific impact of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder research from Southeast Asia: A bibliometric analysis

  • Adrian I. Espiritu
    Corresponding authors.
    Department of Neurosciences, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
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  • Carl Froilan D. Leochico
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Philippines

    Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, St. Luke's Medical Center, Quezon City and Global City, Philippines
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  • Karl Josef Niño J. Separa
    Department of Neurosciences, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
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  • Roland Dominic G. Jamora
    Corresponding authors.
    Department of Neurosciences, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines

    Institute for Neurosciences, St. Luke's Medical Center, Quezon City and Global City, Philippines
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Published:November 18, 2019DOI:


      • MS and NMOSD scientific productivity in the SEA was low in quantity and quality.
      • Most studies from the SEA were cross-sectional and case reports/series.
      • Several countries in SEA yielded low scores in the PlumX metrics components.
      • Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore produced the greatest number of publications.
      • % GDP for R&D was correlated with many productivity indices in the MS/NMOSD field.



      Scientific productivity in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region in the field of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (MS/ NMOSD) was hypothesized to be low in magnitude. The aim of this study was to determine and compare MS/ NMOSD research outputs among the SEA countries in terms of established bibliometric indices. The association between these productivity indices and relevant country-specific socioeconomic factors was also determined.


      A systematic review was conducted to include all relevant published MS/ NMOSD studies in the SEA indexed in MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus and CENTRAL from the inception of these databases to August 1, 2019. Quantity of research productivity was measured in terms of the total published documents. Quality of research impact was evaluated by assessing the study designs of the published reports, publications in journals with impact factor (IF) and PlumX Metrics (citations, usage, captures, mentions and social medias). Population size, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, percentage (%) of GDP allocated to research and development (R&D), and the total number of neurologists reported in each country were obtained from reliable published data.


      Out of 3,547 articles identified, only 142 articles fulfilled the eligibility criteria; therefore, the total number of publications in the SEA region related to MS/ NMOSD was deemed low in quantity. Most studies were cross-sectional and case reports/ series; hence, most studies offered low level of evidence. Since the aggregate scores in citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social medias in PlumX Metrics and publications in journals with IF were low, the overall quality of the published articles was considered low. Thailand (57 articles), Malaysia (40) and Singapore (29) contributed to the majority of publications on the topic-. GDP per capita was statistically correlated with usage. Percent GDP for R&D was positively correlated with total publications, usage, captures and social mediaindices.


      In conclusion, the scientific impact of MS/ NMOSD in the SEA was considered low in quantity and quality. This study must encourage researchers in the SEA to produce greater volumes of high-quality publications in this particular field and motivate governments to increase % GDP for R&D for the benefit of patients suffering fromthese rare and disabling conditions.



      CENTRAL (Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials), CNS (Central nervous system), GDP (Gross domestic product), IF (Impact factor), IMF (International Monetary Fund), JCR (Journal Citation Reports), MS/ NMOSD (Multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder), PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses), R&D (Research and development), SEA (Southeast Asia/ Southeast Asian)
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