Quality of China's radiology research improves

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Imaging research in mainland China has witnessed significant advances in the past decade, as evidenced in part by articles published in Radiology and European Radiology, according to a recent paper in European Radiology.

China's national plan for the development of science and technology, unveiled in 2006, is behind the burgeoning investment in imaging research, wrote Long Jiang Zhang from Nanjing University in China, along with colleagues at other institutions.

Especially in the past five years, mainland China has seen substantial research growth in several areas, with neuroradiology, vascular and interventional radiology, and abdominal radiology as the most productive fields. As for choice of modality, MRI is the most used, with CT and ultrasound coming in second and third, respectively.

"The progress of Mainland China's Radiology research has been occurring in the setting of rapid economic growth of Mainland China over the past 10 years," the authors wrote. "Chinese administrators are increasingly using international publications as an objective measure in order to rank faculty members or applicants for promotion, and to inform decisions on grant applications, scholarship, and other benefits" (Eur Radiol, March 22, 2017).

The results showed a 2.3-fold increase in overall original articles published in Radiology and European Radiology between 2011 and 2015 (n = 203), compared with the 2006 to 2010 time frame (n = 61, p < 0.001). Neuroradiology had the largest number of original articles (n = 50), followed by vascular/interventional (n = 46) and abdominal radiology (n = 42).

Most articles were clinical studies, comprising 83.7% of the total with a similar distribution between the two journals. In all, 164 original articles had cohorts with more than 50 patients, while 83 included more than 100 subjects. In addition, 71.6% of studies had a prospective design and 64% had grant support, while almost one-fourth had international collaborations, according to the authors.

About two-thirds (64%) of published studies had government grants, of which 36% were awarded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

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