To the Editor:—
The letter by Hofbauer et al. 1presented a table from which it is possible to determine the ranking order of the number of publications from anesthesiology departments of 16 European countries. It was a surprise to find that England (or the United Kingdom, as their number for population would indicate) should be almost the least productive country in Europe for all the indices they list. The mean productivity per million head of population for nine other European countries exceeded that of the United Kingdom by an order of magnitude.
My colleague Dr. R. S. Cormack was quick to note the improbability of the total number of publications for the United Kingdom, cited as 248 publications from 1965 to September 1999. This corresponds to a mean of approximately 7 publications per year. My belief that this number is erroneous is supported by other authors who have reported publications for the United Kingdom in a restricted number of journals, over shorter periods of time, and with varying criteria, as 428 per year 2and 478 per year. 3One is therefore tempted to wonder whether the numbers for the United Kingdom have been cited as mean annual publications rather than total publications for the 35-yr period, which seems unlikely for most other countries.