Institute of Occupational-, Social- and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Hepatitis B is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide. Countries with high endemicity, such as China and Taiwan show high scientific productivity in this field and dominate the top ten list of the most productive authors worldwide, providing four of them. This is remarkable, as the USA and Europe usually maintain leading positions, not only regarding country-specific scientific productivity, but also top ten ranking of most productive and most cited authors in other important medical sectors. So far, a scientometric analysis of the topic 'hepatitis B' has not been generated despite an increased need for it in times of modified evaluation criteria for academic personnel and a subsequent tendency to co-authorship and author self-citation. In this study, scientometric methods and large-scale data analysis were used to evaluate quality and quantity of scientific research dealing with the topic 'hepatitis B' and to contribute to distinguish relevant research output. Data were gained from Pubmed and ISI-Web. In the time span of 1971-2011, 49 166 items were published by 250 countries, of which the USA have been the most productive supplier with 28% of all publications, followed in considerable distance by Germany, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy and Taiwan, respectively. The USA have established their position as centre of international cooperation. Their cooperation with China proves to be the most productive one. The most prolific journals in the field of hepatitis b were 'Hepatology', the 'Journal of Hepatology' and the 'Journal of Medical Virology'. h-index, citation rate and impact factor, commonly used for assessment of scientific quality, were determined and discussed critically with regard to distortion by bias of self-citation and co-authorship.