An Analysis of PubMed Abstracts From 1946 to 2021 to Identify Organizational Affiliations in Epidemiological Criminology: Descriptive Study

Wilson Lukmanjaya, Natasha Ginnivan, Goran Nenadic, Marina van Leeuwen, Iain Buchan, Tony Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Epidemiological criminology refers to health issues affecting incarcerated and nonincarcerated offender populations, a group recognized as being challenging to conduct research with. Notwithstanding this, an urgent need exists for new knowledge and interventions to improve health, justice, and social outcomes for this marginalized population.

OBJECTIVE: To better understand research outputs in the field of epidemiological criminology, we examined the lead author's affiliation by analyzing peer-reviewed published outputs to determine countries and organizations (eg, universities, governmental and nongovernmental organizations) responsible for peer-reviewed publications.

METHODS: We used a semiautomated approach to examine the first-author affiliations of 23,904 PubMed epidemiological studies related to incarcerated and offender populations published in English between 1946 and 2021. We also mapped research outputs to the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index to better understand whether there was a relationship between research outputs and the overall standard of a country's justice system.

RESULTS: Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark) had the highest research outputs proportional to their incarcerated population, followed by Australia. University-affiliated first authors comprised 73.3% of published articles, with the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) being the most published, followed by the University of New South Wales (Australia). Government-affiliated first authors were on 8.9% of published outputs, and prison-affiliated groups were on 1%. Countries with the lowest research outputs also had the lowest scores on the Rule of Law Index.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides important information on who is publishing research in the epidemiological criminology field. This has implications for promoting research diversity, independence, funding equity, and partnerships between universities and government departments that control access to incarcerated and offending populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42891
JournalInteractive Journal of Medical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022


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