MPIDR Working Paper
Bibliometric analysis of published literature on the determinants of family planning
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-027, 30 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (May 2023)
Introduction: Our study reviews published literature about the determinants of family planning, specifically studies that examined contraceptive use, non-use, and unmet need. We sought to understand the state of knowledge in the field, particularly as it relates to when, where, and by whom that knowledge is produced. Methods: Our extensive scoping review identified all articles published between 2000-2016 on the determinants of family planning in FP2020 countries. We use bibliometric tools and techniques to identify authors’ institutional and national affiliations, as well as their citation counts to assess how authorship characteristics contribute to knowledge production Results: Descriptive analysis of our curated database shows that contraceptive use was most frequently studied each year. Articles on Asia and Africa were published at a similar rate until 2008 when the number of studies on African countries increased dramatically relative to other FP2020 regions. We also found that most research on family planning was collaborative and focused on a single country of interest. Teams of authors had the highest rates of publication across all family planning outcomes, with teams of men and women representing the largest authorship type based on gender and teams from the Global South representing the largest group based on global location. However, our bibliometric analysis found that characteristics associated with most family planning behavior research were not those associated with citation counts. In particular, research published by authors affiliated with Global South institutions received significantly less citations compared to groups of authors affiliated with institutions in the Global North and Global South. Discussion: Citations counts are often seen as a measure of scientific impact and attention paid by the scientific community to specific research results. Our findings indicate preference for certain authorship characteristics over others based on citations, implicating concerns about knowledge diffusion disparities in family planning literature.
Keywords: Africa, World, family planning, fertility