Institutional origins of health care–associated infection knowledge: Lessons from an analysis of articles about methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus published in leading biomedical journals from 1960-2009

  • Fabio Rojas
    Address correspondence to Fabio Rojas, PhD, Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Ballantine Hall 744, 1020 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405.
    Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IL
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  • W. Carson Byrd
    Department of Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
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  • Sanjay Saint
    Hospital Outcomes Program of Excellence, Department of Veterans Affairs, Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI

    Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI

    Department of Veterans Affairs/University of Michigan Patient Safety Enhancement Program, Ann Arbor, MI
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Published:December 03, 2014DOI:


      Biomedical research journals are important because peer reviewed research is viewed as more legitimate and trustworthy than non-peer reviewed work. Therefore, it is important to know how knowledge transmitted through academic biomedical journals is produced. This article asks if some organizations are more likely to produce research than others and if organizational setting is linked with an article's impact, as measured by citation counts.


      Using research on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a case study, we examined the role that hospitals, universities, public health agencies, and other organizations have in shaping an emerging research area. We collected public data on the organizational affiliations of researchers who authored 1,721 articles in general interest and selected specialty journals.


      MRSA research appears to have evolved in stages that require the participation of different types of organizations. Additionally, our analyses indicate that an author's organizational affiliation predicts citation counts, even when controlling for other factors.


      Organizations vary greatly in their ability to produce research, and this should be taken into account by those who manage or award funds to research organizations.

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