The "Revista de Saúde Pública" in the world literature



Maria Teresinha Dias de Andrade




In 1976 the "Revista de Saúde Pública" completed its tenth year of continued publication. Its contribution to the scientific progress of the country in the field of Public Health has been highly significant both due to the quality of its articles as to the technical and normative aspects of its presentation. Such characteristics have made it possible that it be accepted by the main international services of indexation and abstracts that cover its field of specialization.

It is common knowledge that Latin America, and therefore Brazil, has great difficulty in disseminating its technical and scientifical papers in the world literature. In 1971 the Latin-American participation in international bibliographies was under 1% (Arends2, 1976). In the paper put out by Frame4 it is shown that the Scientific Citation Index cited only 1.1% of Latin-American literature from 1973 to 1975.

The more a journal is disseminated, especially abroad, the larger will be its contribution to scientifical development and the more ample the possibilities of communication among researchers that work in the same field. This dissemination is mainly obtained by indexation of its articles in the international indexes and abstracts.

At present, 14 international bibliographies (indexes and abstracts) widely publish the articles contained in the "Revista de Saúde Pública". Among these seven have been indexing the "Revista de Saúde Pública" from its foundations Abstracts on Hygiene, Biological Abstracts, Bulletin Analytique d'Entomologie Médicale et Véterinaire, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Review of Applied Entomology. Series (B) – Medical and Veterinary, Tropical Diseases Bulletin.

In order to evaluate quantitatively the indexation attained by the "Revista de Saúde Pública" over the past 9 years (1967-1975) a study was undertaken regarding these bibliographies. In September 1976 help was solicited from the international services that put out these bibliographies. Some of them sent lists containing all indexed articles in the above mentioned period and others only indicated the average percentages of indexation of articles from the "Revista de Saúde Pública".

The lists received had to do with the following bibliographies: Abstracts on Hygiene, Bulletin Analytique d'Entomologie Médicale et Veterinaire, Index Medicus, Review of Applied Entomology (B) and Tropical Diseases Bulletin. As regards Excerpta Medica and Biological Abstracts the information received mentioned that the indexation of the "Revista de Saúde Pública" is, meanly, of 50% and of 50 to 80% respectively.

Thus, this study included the bibliographies that had lists, excluding Index Medicus, as in the latter indexation was 100%. It was also decided that Excerpta Medica Section 17 – Public Health, Social Medicine and Hygiene be included due to consultation facilities and its representativeness in the field of Public Health. In this case the list regarding articles published was carefully prepared by the S. Paulo University School of Public Health Library. Thus, of the 7 bibliographies that index the "Revista de Saúde Pública" since 1967, Biological Abstracts and Index Medicus were excluded from this study. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the 5 bibliographies that were were studied, besides being analytical, are selective, opposite to Index Medicus that does not publish summaries and selects journals and not articles, in general.

Up to 1975 the "Revista de Saúde Pública" published 298 articles, 217 of which were original ones, 39 current comments and 39 communications, besides 3 catalogues of entomologic collections.

The indexation attained is considered to be satisfactory due to its global value being 38.9% (Table 1).

The Tropical Diseases Bulletin is the bibliography that holds the first place in indexation of articles contained in the "Revista de Saúde Pública" with, a total of 20.1% (Table 2); considering that the editor of this bibliography is the same of Abstracts on Hygiene, it is necessary to add the data belonging to both which then attain a total of 26.8%. In second place comes Excerpta Medica-Section 17 with 13.7%. This percentage is considerably less than the 50% informed by its editors; most probably this can be explained by the fact that only Section 17 was researched whilst this bibliography actually contains more than 40 sections in specialized fields.

According to Bearman and Kunberger3, there is overlapping of reviews and articles among services of indexation and abstracts, because the constant increase of the number of journals, including those of inderdisciplinary fields, makes one believe that they cover the same journals. The study presently undertaken showed that the overlapping of indexed articles between one bibliography and another was 39.6%. Of the 116 indexed articles, 70(60.3%) overlapped once, 25(21.5%) twice, 17(14.6%) thrice and 4(3.4%) four times. This overlapping could be explained by the fact that among the bibliographies researched, three of them covered the same speciality.

Table 3 shows that articles in the line of epidemiology are placed first with 78.6% of the total indexation; one must, however, consider that there is overlapping among the bibliographies under study, especially among the Tropical Diseases Bulletin, Bulletin Analytique d' Entomologie Medicale et Veterinaire and The Review of Applied Entomology.

The time lag, which is usual between publication and indexation, was in the present case, at the most 3 years (Table 4).

In any case, the total number of indexed articles is considered to be satisfactory, 116 out of 298 published ones. Should Biological Abstracts and other bibliographies2 besides other sections of Excerpta Medica, that index the "Revista de Saúde Pública", be added, there are reasons to believe that the dissemination of information published in this periodical, in the world literature, could reach higher indices of indexation and comprise a greater number of subjects.



1. ARENDS, T. Estado actual de las revistas cientificas y técnicas de Venezuela. In: Problemas paracientíficos. Caracas, Ed. Tiempo Nuevo. 1978. p. 70-80.

2. ARENDS, T. Las revistas medicas latinoamericanas: diagnostico de sua situación y proposiciones para mejorarlas. Investigacion Clinica, 17(1):1-17, 1976.

3. BEARMAN, T. C. KUNBERGER, W. A. A study of coverage overlap among fourteen major science and technology abstracting and indexing services, Philadelphia, National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services. 1977. Resenha em Col. Res. Libr., 38:532-3, 1977.

4. FRAME, J. D. Mainstream research in Latin America and the Caribbean. Interciencia, 2:143-8, 1977.



Our thanks are due to Sonia Maria Ferrara Liziero for her very careful work of bibliographical data complementation and for the research done in Excerpta Medica.



1 Editor: Bureau on Hygiene and Tropical Diseases – London.
2 Entomology Abstracts, Microbiology Abstracts, Nutrition Abstracts Reviews, Safety Science Abstracts Journal, Veterinary Bulletin, Virology Abstracts, Water Resources Abstracts.

Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revsp@org.usp.br