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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-37

Disaster and emergencies health articles in Iranian peer reviewed journals: A bibliographic review

Department of Disaster Public Health, School of Public Health; Department of Disaster and Emergency Health, National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2013

Correspondence Address:
Ali Ardalan
No. 78, Italia Ave, Health in Disasters and Emergencies Health Academia, School of Public Health and National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
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Source of Support: This study has been funded and supported by I.R.Iranís National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Tehran University of Medical Science, Contract No. 241/M/91216, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.122450

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Introduction: The aim of this study was to review the current status of health in disaster related published studies in Iran. Materials and Methods: In this bibliographic study, Iranian national scientific databases were searched by using relevant terms. The articles' titles were extracted independently from each database. Then articles were evaluated by two researchers separately in terms of the study objectives including topic, theme, authors, year of publication, type of study, and phases of disaster. Results: The search for 26 keywords led to 10,805 papers. Of these, 389 articles met the inclusion criteria of the study in which 1,152 authors participated. The average number of authors per article was 2.9. The methodologies of 20.5% of articles were review papers, 43.6% were cross-sectional, and 4.6% were case-control papers. The articles were published in 140 journals. Analysis of articles by topics showed that 27.8% were on earthquakes, 22.1% on floods, and 4.3% on drought. Analysis of articles by topics showed that 25.7% and 22.6% of papers were on the response and preparedness phases, respectively. Conclusion: The publication of disaster related articles has been growing in recent years, but the majority of health issues in disasters has not been considered seriously yet and requires further attention.

Keywords: Bibliographic study, disaster medicine, disasters, Iran

How to cite this article:
Babaie J, Ardalan A, Moradian MJ, Ahmednezhad E. Disaster and emergencies health articles in Iranian peer reviewed journals: A bibliographic review. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2013;1:32-7

How to cite this URL:
Babaie J, Ardalan A, Moradian MJ, Ahmednezhad E. Disaster and emergencies health articles in Iranian peer reviewed journals: A bibliographic review. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Apr 19];1:32-7. Available from: https://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2013/1/1/32/122450

  Introduction Top

Disasters happen almost every day in the world and lead to dramatically human, economic, and environmental consequences. [1] In addition, frequencies of disasters and economic losses in the past decade have been growing in the world. [2],[3],[4] Islamic Republic of Iran is a high-ranked disaster-prone country; [3],[5],[6],[7] so the policy makers, decision makers, politicians, and managers need strong evidence and high quality reliable researches [8] to put them as a basic planning for future disasters. [9],[10],[11]

The studies on the disasters around the world have been growing in recent years [10] and the New York attack on September 11, 2001 has increased the tendency to conduct disaster research among all of the world researchers. [12] In Islamic Republic of Iran, the studies in this field have received attention by researchers recently. Some catastrophic events like the earthquake in Bam were a driving force for researchers in this field. Considering the fact that research in the field of disaster in Iran is new, there has not been a comprehensive review on the published articles yet. The objective of the present study is to obtain information on the various fields of studies in this area, the number and types of conducted studies, researchers, universities and institutions active in this field, journals devoted to the publication of relevant articles, and methodologies used in such researches.

  Materials and Methods Top

Searching strategy

In present bibliographic study, the "Scientific Information Database" (SID) (4,536 articles), [13] "Magiran" (3,910 articles), [14] "Indexing Articles Published in Iran Biomedical Journals" (IranMedex) (1,096 articles), [15] and "Global Medical Articles Library" (MedLib) (1,263 articles) [16] databases which index the Iranian Scientific Journals were searched. The present study evaluated all published articles in the above databases with the indexed journals and papers by the end of 2011. In SID database, the published articles have been indexed since 1998. [13] In the Magiran database, articles from 1997 onwards can be searched. [14] In the MedLib database, the articles published since 1972 onwards are searchable. [16] Finally, in IranMedex database, all published articles onset their publication, are available. [15] SID and Magiran databases index all journals and papers (medical and nonmedical journals), while IranMedex and Medlib databases just index medical journals and articles till our research. Some journals do not have a public health sector, but they publish relevant disaster and emergency articles. There are also published articles with the potential features of being used in the health areas. They were considered in the current study. Some of these articles are as follows:
"Assessment of readiness to deal with disasters in Medical University Affiliated Hospitals" in Daneshvar Journal, [17] "Evaluation of rehabilitation services to earthquake sufferers in Gilan" in Journal of Social Welfare, [18] "Evaluation of information providing in the Rudbar-Manjil and Bam earthquakes" in Seismology Bulletin, [19] and "Natural disasters and pathology of man-made factors" in Journal of Environmental Sciences, [20] etc.

The keywords included are as follows:

Disaster management, disasters, emergency, preparedness, terrorism, bioterrorism, flood and floodwater, earthquake, thunder, lightning, tsunami, hurricane, blizzard, ice, volcano, flood, epidemic, plane crash, train crash, landslide, relief, rescue, and starvation.

Process of including articles

The selected keywords and phrases were used for database searching by one of the researchers. No limitations were considered in the search of mentioned keywords. The phrases were entered directly in the search menu of each database. Then, the titles of articles found in each database were extracted independently (total of 10,805 articles). The obtained titles were evaluated in terms of relevance with the topic and irrelevant items were excluded (933 relevant articles).

The repeated cases (270 articles) were removed after comparing papers together in all four databases. The remaining articles (663 articles) were evaluated in terms of relevance with the objective of the study by two investigators separately. If both investigators agreed on the relevance of the title to the topic, the article was ready for the final evaluation and vice versa. In the case where investigators did not agree on the relevance of the title to the objective of study, the disputed titles were evaluated by the third researcher and her viewpoint on the relevance or lack of relevance of articles to the objective of the study were considered (in total, 240 articles were excluded in this way). Only the papers with available abstracts in the databases were evaluated referring to the printed version of the journal. In cases where it was not possible to access the printed version, the abstract was used only if the required information could be extracted from the abstract; otherwise, it was excluded from the study (34 articles). The remaining articles (389 articles) were examined independently by two researchers. The disputed cases were reviewed in a meeting attended by all investigators of the project and the consensus was reached. The searching process has been shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: The process of bibliographic study on published articles in various areas of health in disasters and emergencies in Iranian peer reviewed journals, up to 2011

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The analyzing process

All the articles were then analyzed in terms of publication year, type, the journal in which they were published, the number and nationality of the authors (foreign and Iranian), organizational affiliation of authors, type of disaster, the article theme (including mental health and mental illness, all aspects of environmental health, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, nutrition and food hygiene, maternal health, reproductive health, prehospital emergency care, treatment, management, and others), and the phase of the disaster management cycle (prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery). Since the institutions providing financial resources were not mentioned in the majority of articles, this variable was excluded from the study.

For classification of articles in terms of the type of study (including review, descriptive or cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, trial or experimental, case study, qualitative, modeling, and other methods), the first priority was the type determined by the authors of the article. In the case where the type of study was not mentioned, the article was completely evaluated by two researchers to determine its type. If there were differences between the two researchers' opinions, in the meeting, a consensus was reached.

  Results Top

The result of the search for 26 keywords in four main databases of Islamic Republic of Iran (SID, Magiran, IranMedex, and MedLib) yield to 10,805 articles. Of these, 389 papers were identified as relevant articles. The number of authors who participated in article's writing was 1,152 (2.9 authors/article). Three papers were written in collaboration with foreign authors.

Among the first authors of articles, 20 authors had two articles (5.1%), nine people had three articles (2.3%), three people had written four (0.8), and one person had written five articles (0.2%). Other first authors (315 people) each had written one article (1.1 articles per each first author).

The authors were also examined regardless of their names' order in the title of the articles. Among 1,152 authors, two people participated in writing seven articles, two people in six articles, 11 people in five articles, 28 people in three papers, and 79 people involved in writing three articles. The remainders (1,130 people) participated only in writing one article. Non-Iranians authors participated in writing three articles. The number of authors in each article ranged from one person to 13 people. [Figure 2] shows the details. [Figure 3] shows the number of articles versus the publication year.
Figure 2: The number of authors per each published article

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Figure 3: The number of published articles in the field of health in disasters and emergencies in terms of publication year

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Different types of peer reviewed journals were included in the publication of articles (140 journals). Among them, 83 journals published only one article and 13, 15, 7, 3, 3, 6, 4 and 9 journals each published 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 articles, respectively. Included articles were analyzed based on methodologies. [Table 1] shows the methodological analysis of the type of studies[Table 2].
Table 1: Number of published articles based on the type of study

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Table 2: Number of published articles based on disaster phase

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One hundred and twelve articles were related to earthquake (28.7%), 86 cases were about flood and flashflood (22.1%), 76 articles were related to all disasters (19.5%), 23 articles were on terrorism and bioterrorism (5.2%), 17 cases were on the drought and famine (4.3%), 14 articles were devoted to epidemics and outbreaks (3.6%), five items were on hurricane and tornado (1.2%), five articles were related to fire and explosion (1.29%), and two cases involving chemical accidents (0.5%).

Volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis each has been studied in separate articles (0.2%) and 26 cases related to other manmade hazards such as war (6.6%).

[Table 3] shows the results of analysis in terms of subjects of the article. [Table 4] represents the management phases of the disaster discussed in the articles.
Table 3: Number of published articles based on the related theme

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Table 4: The frequency distribution of institutional affiliation of the first authors of published articles in Iranian research-scientific journal by the end of 2011 in the field of health in disasters and emergencies

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  Discussion Top

This review is the first comprehensive review of disasters health related studies in Iran. The main objective of this review was to investigate the current situation of health in disaster related studies in national peer reviewed journals. Thus, relatively a large number of related terms have been searched on national databases.

The SID has the greatest number of articles and Magiran, MedLib, and IranMedex; had the next ranks respectively. Since the majority of Iranian scientific research journals (both medical and nonmedical) are indexed in scientific information database (SID), it was expected to find more articles in SID. The MedLib and IranMedex databases which index only medical journals contained fewer articles. On the other hand some of the articles published in the nonmedical journals contained more topics related to the present study and were usable. Although the most published papers were found in the search for words were about flood and flashflood, outbreak and epidemics, respectively, most of the titles of relevant articles were related to the earthquake and relief and rescue. As the earthquakes are more frequent and have more causalities in Iran, this type of disaster was more attractive and more papers have been published about them. Despite the frequent occurrence of floods in Iran, the flood-related articles were in the lower ranks.

As Iran is an earthquake prone country (earthquake in Bam), most of the published articles in the Iranian scientific research journals were about this hazard. Flood and flashflood articles were in the second place. Considering the theme of articles; disaster management, communicable disasters, and mental health had higher ranks. The results of a study showed that the "mental health in disasters" was the main subject among published articles.

In a study published in 2008, bioterrorism (36%) and preparedness (18%) were the highest published subjects in the general journals while general disasters (38%) and preparedness (27%) were the greatest published subjects about USA. The authors of the present study believe that the mean number of participants in articles is small and writing articles in this area is rarely done collaboratively. Although the participation of authors from several countries and different universities is common in the world, the participation was lower in the studied papers. Only a few papers were written in collaboration with non-Iranian authors. This is perhaps due to this fact that most writers and researchers are interested to publish the results of their studies in international journals, especially the journals in English instead of publishing in the local and Persian journals whose number of audiences is naturally lower.

The authors who have specialized in the field of disaster research are few. Only one person was involved in writing five papers. The majority of the authors participated in writing one article. Login to special topics and continuation of activities in certain areas will increase the skills and expertise of authors. Consequently, their studies will be stronger and more reliable.

The number of published articles related to health in disaster in Iran has been growing in recent years. The Bam earthquake was a milestone like the September 11 tragedy in the United States. The number of published articles reached to 90 papers in 2010 which has increased nearly six-fold in comparison with 2001. Smith et al., conducted a study entitled "Three decades of disasters: Literature review on disasters during 1997-2009", most published papers related to the event September 11, 2001 (686 articles). [10]

The Journal of Military Medicine affiliated to the Baqiatollah Institute of Medical Science is a scientific research journal which has been published since 2008. This journal is ranked first among journals publishing articles related to disasters. The Journal of Relief and Rescue affiliated to the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran which is published since 2009 was in second place. This journal is a special publication related to the disasters and emergencies. Journal of Research and Development was in the third place. Although this journal mainly publishes technical papers related to floods, some of these technical articles contain methods and results that can be used in the field of health issues.

Smith also showed that Pre-hospital and Disaster Medicine Journal, a special journal in health issues in disasters, published most of the papers (54 articles). Journal of Traumatic Stress with 42 papers and Journal of Psychiatric Services and Military Medicine were in the next place each with 40 articles. [10] Kelen and Sauer conducted a study entitled "The analysis of articles related to health in disasters in scientific journals before and after 11/9". Their results showed that among specific journals, the Journal of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine published the largest number of articles (21%). An International Journal of Disaster Prevention and Management (18%) were in the second place. Among the general and relevant journals, Lancet had published the highest number (33%). The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (28%), and the Annals of Emergency Medicine (18%) were in next places. [21] This study also indicated an increase in the number of articles within 5 years after 11/9 (2002-2006), that is, 320% in public journals and 145% in specific disaster-related journals compared with 5 years prior the 11/9 (1996-2000), respectively. [21]

Most of the articles in this study were cross-sectional/descriptive and review studies (the methodology used in the studies) which are classified at the lower levels scientifically. A few studies were experimental and interventional papers.

Roy et al., conducted a study entitled "Disaster research in developing countries: Current evidences and future priorities". Their results showed that, of total 63,196 articles devoted to disasters in scientific journals around the world, 438 articles (less than 1% of all articles) were from developing countries. In addition few numbers of articles, the quality of them was low scientifically so that none of the published articles were at first, second, and third scientific ranks. They were all at the fourth and fifth levels. The four-fifths of the authors were from the developed countries. [11]

Savoia et al., conducted a study in MEDLINE and EMBASE entitled "Public health system studies in emergency preparedness: A literature review". Their results indicated that from January 1997 to 31 December 2008, 547 articles were published in research scientific journals. Most articles (81%) included review/interpretation articles and case studies based on qualitative studies. Sixty-two percent of the articles were review/interpretational studies. [22]

  Conclusion Top

The number of published articles in Iran in the field of health in disasters has been growing in recent years. The Journal of Military Medicine is the leading journal in publication of theses papers. This is facilitated with the publication of a special publication entitled "Journal of Relief and Rescue". Although the trend is growing, but most of health issues in disasters require further attention, especially high level studies in terms of methodology. However, the reproductive health, noncommunicable diseases, nutrition, environmental health, and prehospital care requires more special attention. Considering the disaster-prone being of Iran, it seems that the special attention towards research works in this field is very important. The present study shows that although the current literature paid more attention to the two main hazards of the country, that is, earthquakes and floods; according to the study types, it is recommended to have a special attention for investment on these areas to increase the level of studies and the expertise in researchers in this field.

  Limitations of the study Top

In this study, the articles indexed in available databases in Islamic Republic of Iran have been studied. As a result, the researches that have not been published in databases were not considered. Also, the older issues of some journals are not indexed in these databases because accessing them was impossible for the authors. Moreover, it was very difficult to diagnose the type of study and the relevance of the article to the health in some cases.

  References Top

1.Gregory RC, Philip DA, Erik AD, Robert GD, et al. Disaster Medicine. Missouri: Mosby, Elsevier; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Jahangiri K, Tabibi SJ. Strategic planning: Mitigation of economic impact on natural disaster. Payesh 1385;4:281-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Rahgooy A, Ebrahimi Balil F, Khankeh HR, Rahgozar M, Rezaei O. The effect of psychodrama on depression among inpatient women with chronic mental disorder. J Res Behav Sci 1385;3:71-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Guha Sapir D, Vos F, Below R. Annual statistical review: Numbers and Trends 2011. [Online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.cred.be/-publications [Last cited date 2012 Sep 06].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Ardalan GR, Masoomi M, Goya M, Ghaffari, et al. Disaster health management: Iran′s Progress and Challenges. Iranian J Publ Health 2009;38:93-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Green GB, Modi S, Lunney K, Thomas TL. Generic evaluation methods for disaster drills in developing countries. Ann Emerg Med 2003;41:689-99.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Ardalan A, Rajaei MH, Masoumi G, Azin A, Zonoobi V, Sarvar M, et al. 2012-2025 Roadmap of I.R.Iran′s Disaster Health Management. PLoS Curr 2012;4: e4f93005fbcb34.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Nasiri-Pour A, Raeissi P, Mahbobi M. Border hospital readiness in handling border related crises in Kermanshah Province, Iran. JHA 2007;28:41-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Mohebbifar R, Tabibi SJ, Asefzadeh S. Designing a structure of disaster management for Iran. JHA 2008;11:47-56.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Smith E, Wasiak J, Sen A, Archer F, Burkle FM Jr. Three decades of disasters: A review of disaster-specific literature from 1977 - 2009. Prehosp Disaster Med 2009;24:306-11.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Roy N, Thakkar P, Shah H. Developing-world disaster research: Present evidence and future priorities. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2011;5:112-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Eftekhari AR, Vazin N, Poortaheri M. Natural disaster management process in traditional and modern approach: Rural area of Khorosh rostam (Khalkhal). Moddares 2009;13:63-94.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Scientific Information Database (SID). [Online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.sid.ir/fa/idex.asp [Last cited date 2012 Sept 06].  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Iranian Journals and Magazines Database (Magiran). [Online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.magiran.com/index.asp [Last cited date 2012 Sept 06].  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Indexing articles published in Iran biomedical journals (IranMedex). [Online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.iranmedex.com/index.asp [Last cited date 2012 Sept 06].  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Iranian ministry of health. Global medical articles library (Medlib). [Online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.medlib.ir/[Last Cited date 2012 Sept 06].  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Hojjat M, Serati Nir M, Khaganizadeh M, Karimi M. Disaster preparedness in hospitals of medical universities. Daneshvar 2008;15:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Kamali M, Moradi MR, Arjmand Hesabi M. Study of rehabilitation service providing for earthquake affected people in Gillan and Fars. Soc Secur 2003;3:147-62.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Amini K, Pishnamazi P. Communication in roodbar-manjil and Bam earthquakes. Research bulletin of seismology and earthquake engineering 2010;48:57-62.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Sartipipoor M. Natural disasters and etiology manmade factors. Env Sci 2006;3:59-66.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Kelen G, Sauer LM. Trend analysis of disaster health articles in peer-reviewed publications pre- and post-9/11. Am J Disaster Med 2008;3:369-76.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Savoia E, Massin-Short SB, Rodday AM, Aaron LA, Higdon MA, Stoto MA. Public health systems research in emergency preparedness: A review of the literature. Am J Prev Med 2009;37:150-6.  Back to cited text no. 22


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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