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Article: Anatomy of the epidemiological literature on the 2003 SARS outbreaks in Hong Kong and Toronto: A time-stratified review

TitleAnatomy of the epidemiological literature on the 2003 SARS outbreaks in Hong Kong and Toronto: A time-stratified review
Authors
Issue Date2010
PublisherPublic Library of Science. The Journal's web site is located at http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=index-html&issn=1549-1676
Citation
Plos Medicine, 2010, v. 7 n. 5 How to Cite?
AbstractBackground: Outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, especially those of a global nature, require rapid epidemiological analysis and information dissemination. The final products of those activities usually comprise internal memoranda and briefs within public health authorities and original research published in peer-reviewed journals. Using the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic as an example, we conducted a comprehensive time-stratified review of the published literature to describe the different types of epidemiological outputs. Methods and Findings: We identified and analyzed all published articles on the epidemiology of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong or Toronto. The analysis was stratified by study design, research domain, data collection, and analytical technique. We compared the SARS-case and matched-control non-SARS articles published according to the timeline of submission, acceptance, and publication. The impact factors of the publishing journals were examined according to the time of publication of SARS articles, and the numbers of citations received by SARS-case and matched-control articles submitted during and after the epidemic were compared. Descriptive, analytical, theoretical, and experimental epidemiology concerned, respectively, 54%, 30%, 11%, and 6% of the studies. Only 22% of the studies were submitted, 8% accepted, and 7% published during the epidemic. The submission-to-acceptance and acceptance-to-publication intervals of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic period were significantly shorter than the corresponding intervals of matched-control non-SARS articles published in the same journal issues (p,0.001 and p,0.01, respectively). The differences of median submission-to-acceptance intervals and median acceptance-to-publication intervals between SARS articles and their corresponding control articles were 106.5 d (95% confidence interval [CI] 55.0-140.1) and 63.5 d (95% CI 18.0-94.1), respectively. The median numbers of citations of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic and over the 2y thereafter were 17 (interquartile range [IQR] 8.0-52.0) and 8 (IQR 3.2-21.8), respectively, significantly higher than the median numbers of control article citations (15, IQR 8.5-16.5, p,0.05, and 7, IQR 3.0-12.0, p,0.01, respectively). Conclusions: A majority of the epidemiological articles on SARS were submitted after the epidemic had ended, although the corresponding studies had relevance to public health authorities during the epidemic. To minimize the lag between research and the exigency of public health practice in the future, researchers should consider adopting common, predefined protocols and ready-to-use instruments to improve timeliness, and thus, relevance, in addition to standardizing comparability across studies. To facilitate information dissemination, journal managers should reengineer their fast-track channels, which should be adapted to the purpose of an emerging outbreak, taking into account the requirement of high standards of quality for scientific journals and competition with other online resources. © 2010 Xing et al.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/144859
ISSN
2011 Impact Factor: 16.269
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 5.667
PubMed Central ID
ISI Accession Number ID
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European UnionSP22-CT-2004-511066
Funding Information:

Funding: This work was funded by the Sixth Framework Programme for Research for Policy Support (contract SP22-CT-2004-511066) from the European Union. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorXing, Wen_HK
dc.contributor.authorHejblum, Gen_HK
dc.contributor.authorLeung, GMen_HK
dc.contributor.authorValleron, AJen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2012-02-17T06:29:01Z-
dc.date.available2012-02-17T06:29:01Z-
dc.date.issued2010en_HK
dc.identifier.citationPlos Medicine, 2010, v. 7 n. 5en_HK
dc.identifier.issn1549-1277en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/144859-
dc.description.abstractBackground: Outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, especially those of a global nature, require rapid epidemiological analysis and information dissemination. The final products of those activities usually comprise internal memoranda and briefs within public health authorities and original research published in peer-reviewed journals. Using the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic as an example, we conducted a comprehensive time-stratified review of the published literature to describe the different types of epidemiological outputs. Methods and Findings: We identified and analyzed all published articles on the epidemiology of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong or Toronto. The analysis was stratified by study design, research domain, data collection, and analytical technique. We compared the SARS-case and matched-control non-SARS articles published according to the timeline of submission, acceptance, and publication. The impact factors of the publishing journals were examined according to the time of publication of SARS articles, and the numbers of citations received by SARS-case and matched-control articles submitted during and after the epidemic were compared. Descriptive, analytical, theoretical, and experimental epidemiology concerned, respectively, 54%, 30%, 11%, and 6% of the studies. Only 22% of the studies were submitted, 8% accepted, and 7% published during the epidemic. The submission-to-acceptance and acceptance-to-publication intervals of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic period were significantly shorter than the corresponding intervals of matched-control non-SARS articles published in the same journal issues (p,0.001 and p,0.01, respectively). The differences of median submission-to-acceptance intervals and median acceptance-to-publication intervals between SARS articles and their corresponding control articles were 106.5 d (95% confidence interval [CI] 55.0-140.1) and 63.5 d (95% CI 18.0-94.1), respectively. The median numbers of citations of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic and over the 2y thereafter were 17 (interquartile range [IQR] 8.0-52.0) and 8 (IQR 3.2-21.8), respectively, significantly higher than the median numbers of control article citations (15, IQR 8.5-16.5, p,0.05, and 7, IQR 3.0-12.0, p,0.01, respectively). Conclusions: A majority of the epidemiological articles on SARS were submitted after the epidemic had ended, although the corresponding studies had relevance to public health authorities during the epidemic. To minimize the lag between research and the exigency of public health practice in the future, researchers should consider adopting common, predefined protocols and ready-to-use instruments to improve timeliness, and thus, relevance, in addition to standardizing comparability across studies. To facilitate information dissemination, journal managers should reengineer their fast-track channels, which should be adapted to the purpose of an emerging outbreak, taking into account the requirement of high standards of quality for scientific journals and competition with other online resources. © 2010 Xing et al.en_HK
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherPublic Library of Science. The Journal's web site is located at http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=index-html&issn=1549-1676en_HK
dc.relation.ispartofPLoS Medicineen_HK
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong Licenseen_US
dc.subject.meshDisease Outbreaks - statistics and numerical data-
dc.subject.meshEpidemiology - statistics and numerical data-
dc.subject.meshInformation Dissemination - methods-
dc.subject.meshPeriodicals as Topic - statistics and numerical data-
dc.subject.meshSevere Acute Respiratory Syndrome - epidemiology-
dc.titleAnatomy of the epidemiological literature on the 2003 SARS outbreaks in Hong Kong and Toronto: A time-stratified reviewen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.emailLeung, GM:gmleung@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityLeung, GM=rp00460en_HK
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_versionen_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1371/journal.pmed.1000272en_HK
dc.identifier.pmid20454570-
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC2864302-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-77953237635en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros170717-
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-77953237635&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume7en_HK
dc.identifier.issue5en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000278560500007-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Statesen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridXing, W=36103493700en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridHejblum, G=6701406713en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridLeung, GM=7007159841en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridValleron, AJ=7004672683en_HK
dc.identifier.citeulike8406701-

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