Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a common harmful traditional practice in many communities in Africa and to a lesser extent in Middle East and other regions in the world. In order to better understand publishing on this topic, we conducted a bibliometric study on FGM/C. Bibliometric analyses can be used as an indicator of the extent of interaction of researchers, health authorities, and communities with a particular health issue.
Scopus database was used to retrieve data on FGM/C. Keywords used were "female genital mutilation", "female genital circumcision", "female genital cutting" and "female circumcision". Specifically, the number of publications, top productive countries and institutions, highly cited articles, citation analysis, co-authorships, international collaboration, role of African countries, top active authors, and journals involved in publishing articles on FGM/C were reviewed and analyzed. We indirectly assessed the impact of publications using total number of citations received, average number of citations per article, Hirsch-index, percentage of highly cited articles, and journal's impact factor.
One thousand and thirty-five publications on FGM/C were retrieved. The h-index of retrieved articles was 37. A steep rise in number of publications was noticed in mid-1990s and again in 2012. More than half of retrieved articles were published from 2006 - 2015. A total of 65 countries contributed. The top ten productive countries included ones from Northern America, Europe and Africa. Nigeria and Egypt were the most active African countries in FGM/C publications. At least nine African academic institutions were actively involved on FGM/C publications. Articles on FGM/C that received the highest number of citations were those that focused on negative physical and psychosexual consequences of FGM/C. Journal topic areas were obstetrics/gynecology, public health, and psychological sociology. Collaboration between African and European countries on FGM/C research was evident.
Bibliometric analysis reveals that research publications on FGM/C have been increasing since the l970s, with collaboration between African and Western countries, and articles are being published in higher impact journals, not only obstetrics, but also public health and social sciences. FGM/C research can be helpful to international health agencies and governments not only to document negative outcomes, but also to identify best practices, and to note gaps in implementation and practice.