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Information systems as the tool of assessment of scientific literature on bioterrorism

B.A. Markusova, L.F. Borisova, K. Vilson, M. Davies

Information systems as the tool of assessment of scientific literature on bioterrorism

V. A. M a rk u s ova, L. F. B o r i s ova, C.Wilson, M.Davis Information systems as an instrument of the evaluation of scientific publications on bioterrorism


the Problem of bioterrorism (BT) for many years was a subject of discussions of a small circle of specialists infectiologists and also specialists in security concerns and politicians. The tragedy on September 11 which comprehended the United States, and death of thousands of people showed, the threat of a civilization from terrorist groups and singles-sumashedshikh in whose hands there can be weapons of mass destruction is how big. Dispersion in air by members of sect "Aum Sinrikyo" of pathogenic (virulent) bacilli of SYa in Tokyo in 1993

In October, 2001 to the attack of anthrax with the fatal cases which followed after receiving post envelopes was first "experience" on use of the anthrax (A) as source of infection employees of post offices and a number of newspapers in various cities of the USA located in the State of Florida, Washington and its vicinities underwent. Even the building of the U. S. Congress underwent evacuation after detection an anthrax dispute in the ventilation system of the building. The origin of strains of SYa widespread in various areas

of the USA, is still unknown though the largest experts, including doctor Keym were involved to a solution. Doctor Keym helped to define a strain which was used in Tokyo. It is the owner of a unique collection of bacilli of SYa. Now interest in a problem of BO became universal.

Knows that the best source of formation of the array of problem-oriented information is search in the cross-disciplinary database of the index of the quoted literature - Science Citation Index (SCI). SCI is the unique database which does not have equal on the width of coverage of scientific literature for which preparation about 3300 most informative magazines of the world are used. The annual SCI array includes over 750 thousand scientific articles and about 15 million references.

Still the SCI database has great opportunities during the work with it through the information system "Dialog". Stay of one of authors of this article in August-September, 2001 in the University of New South Wales in Sydney allowed to execute the scientometric project according to trends of development of scientific research in bioterrorism, a contribution of the leading countries to this area of researches and measures of fight against this phenomenon. As an additional source of data the database of the All-Russian Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (ARISTI) was used.

1. A little history
Biological weapon is known to

for a long time. In the Middle Ages the knights threw in a camp of the opponent of a body of the soldiers who died of plague for distribution of epidemic of plague. What was once called "war of microbes" - has today more ominous character, considering abilities of modern genetic engineering to make pathogens. The international convention on biological weapon (KBO) was signed in Moscow and London on April 10, 1972, but implementation of its principles in life remained a difficult task. In 1998 the U.S. President B. Clinton in the annual appeal to the congress emphasized need to strengthen the Convention on biological weapon "the new international system of inspection,

allowing to define existence of such production and to convict of deception of the state, involved in production of BO" (1, page 8-10).

the Main countries - competitors on production of BO. The production of biological weapon in the USA begun in 1942 was stopped by the decree of the president R. Nixon in 1969 In 1973 in the USA all arsenals of BO were destroyed. Since then the Military institute of infectious diseases (the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) is responsible for defensive researches on a tulyaremiya and other potential biological agents for the purpose of protection of the U.S. Armed Forces. The institute is responsible also for development of a method of deactivation, clinical diagnostics and recognition, medical management in case of infection (3).

In 1972 the vice president of Academy of Sciences of the USSR academician Yu.A. Ovchinnikov with assistance of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR got approval of Council of ministers on development of the program for biological weapon.

In April and May, 1979 anthrax epidemic in Sverdlovsk unexpectedly flashed. In 1992 all Russian military research institutes and productions where BO was developed and made, were reoriented on peaceful researches. However around Russia in the CIS countries a number of the organizations continue researches on BO.

signed with

In 1 992 Russia Addition to KBO of 1972 and the Contract on the termination of its program for BO with Great Britain and the USA. Three countries agreed together to work on transformation of the former militarized organizations into civil scientific centers, to strengthen scientific exchange and to establish the procedure of mutual visits on military and civilian facilities. Now, in connection with growth of various terrorist groups and the organizations the danger of use of BO became a reality. Attacks of anthrax to U.S. Postal Service and the congress forced world's population to look at terrible consequences of bioterrorist attack in a new way. "Extended by air, BO has no smell, taste and is invisible. It is very difficult to distinguish it. Usually learn about it when already too late" (3). To prevent awful consequences of terrorist attack, the international community has to combine efforts in researches on protection against BO.

2. Results and discussion
Scientific efficiency

the Massif consisting from more than 2800 publications was classified by

2.1 by the countries, names of magazines, the cooperating countries, subject categories and efficiency of magazines and the organizations. Significant growth in the scientific publications and the countries which are engaged in this subject is revealed. So, in 1991 the scientists from 30 countries published 181 articles, and in 2000 the scientists from 46 countries published 434 works, i.e. growth of publications was 250%. During the studied time period 94 countries submitted the publications on scope of the biological protection (BP). According to some information it was succeeded to track participation of various countries in these researches with a three-year interval: in 1991 30 countries, in 1994 - 33 participated in them; in 1997 - 46 and in 2000 - 44 countries. The USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, Australia and Germany were leaders in these works. For this period the contribution of the USA to a flow of publications grew four times, France, Great Britain and Germany increased the contribution three times. Australia remained at the previous level. However the contribution of Russia sharply decreased.

of the Publication on BZ cover 161 subject categories on classification of BS1 databases in which each magazine is identified with one or several subject categories. The informative analysis of publications showed that they cover extensive subject: from genetic engineering and biosensors to history of infectious diseases, a coverage of health care and the policy of the government in case of the biological attack or natural epidemic.

2.2 The Russian publications

All Russian publications, and them was 148, underwent the informative analysis. It is necessary to emphasize that till 1991 the Russian scientists could not only publish, but also discuss freely such subject as biological weapon. Only after disintegration of the Soviet Union, opportunities for publications of some results of researches opened. Officially former military microbiological scientific research institutes were reoriented on civil researches on BZ.

the Russian scientists twice, in 1994 and in 1997., sharply reduced publications on subject. In our opinion, this phenomenon can be explained as follows: first, change of policy of selection of the Russian magazines by Institute of scientific information of the USA (! B1) which led to an exception of a number of magazines of the medical and microbiological direction, and, secondly, stricter control from the state of publications on this subject.

Researchers from 43 various organizations participated in development of the subject investigated here. Among them four organizations are in the territory of the new independent states now: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Ukraine. 14 organizations are institutes of RAS or the Russian Academy of Medical Science. Other organizations (including those which are associated with the Russian Academy of Medical Science now) at the time of the USSR were focused only on defensive subject and military industry.

63.5% of publications fall To the share of six of these organizations. At the time of "Cold War" four of them were subordinated to the Ministry of Defence of the USSR and were engaged in production of BO. Two others - the Institute of virology of D.I. Ivanovsky and Institute of virus medicines were under supervision of the Ministry of Health and were involved in programs for BO. Scientists from before strictly closed organizations - the Russian state institute of an antiplague infection and from the State center for virology and molecular biology "Vector" continue to publish on several articles annually. The subject of the Russian publications is devoted to development of new antibiotics, bioengineering and consequences of outbreak of anthrax in the suburb of Sverdlovsk. A number of articles is devoted to vaccines, viral and bacterial infections, available to control. All these organizations are occupied with performance of civil researches though the relation to their activity of experts in the West ambiguous (8).

of Article, written with participation of the Russian experts, were published in 45 scientific magazines. In 1991-1993 the Russian scientists mainly published the works in the Russian magazines. Further their works began to be published as in the Russian, and foreign scientific magazines. It was noted above that in 1993, and then in 1995 the number of the Russian magazines processed for preparation of BS1 considerably was reduced. Several magazines from the provided list were also excluded from BS1. So, the Antibiotiki I Khimioterapiya magazine was excluded from processing in 1993; "The magazine of microbiology, epidemiology and immunology" in 1994, the "virusologii Voprosy" magazine - in 1999. As a result of it access for the world scientific community to results of the Russian researches is reduced.

about 70-80% of the Russian publications were published by

In 1991-1992 in the Russian magazines. Since 1994, growth of number of publications in foreign magazines is observed. Joint scientific publications with scientists of other countries are published only in foreign scientific magazines.

the List of the Russian authors was ranged by

on efficiency. 437 experts participated in publication of 148 articles, on average three authors on one publication. Articles published by ten most productive authors were ranged by a year of the publication, the addresses of the organizations and names of magazines. Eight of ten most productive authors are a staff of the State center for virology and molecular biology "Vector" - the center of the Russian-American cooperation. Two other authors worked in State Research Institute of an antiplague infection in Rostov-on-Don. Both authors published the works in the Antibiotiki I Khimioterapiya magazine which was excluded from the BO list in 1993

the Distribution model of domestic and foreign publications by years in the VINITI database is approximately identical. In both streams of 1998 and 1999 were very productive. However among domestic sources growth of publications is observed due to processing of domestic patents and works of institutes which in BO1 are not reflected. Thus, it is difficult for expert to estimate achievements of Russia in this area if he works only with BO1. At the same time authors would not like to belittle advantages of this multidisciplinary database. Specialists in a naukometriya repeatedly specified (and on this subject many researches are executed) that BO1 is focused first of all on English-speaking literature, and the literature published in other languages in it is presented insufficiently. The analysis of primary sources as documents showed that

in an array of foreign publications journal articles prevailed. However these 124 articles were disseminated through 77 names of scientific magazines. A bit different picture was observed in an array of domestic publications. 33 articles or 25% of the domestic massif fall to the share of magazines. 15 publications fall to the share of patents, the rest is works of the research institutes which were earlier belonging to defense industry. We mentioned it earlier.

2.3 Participation of Russia in the international scientific cooperation

the International cooperation is the integral line of modern science. Scientific cooperation of two superstates - the USA and Russia - on the researches connected with BO and BZ represents very important factor of stability in the world removing barriers of mistrust and reducing bioterrorism threat. Among an array of the Russian publications (148 articles) - 24 are published in cooperation with scientists of eight countries, including 17 joint publications with the scientific USA; two Russian-American articles appeared in 1,992 g, four - in 1,993 g; on two in 1994 and in 1,995; one - in 1996; two - in 1,998 g; rub - in 2000. The American organizations are in the lead in scientific cooperation with the Russian institutes which were their rivals during "Cold War". Studying cases of infection with anthrax as a result of accident at munitions factory near Sverdlovsk in 1979 and the consequences of this event which influenced the population of the area and the environment are subjects of many joint publications during 1993-1996. Several works were devoted to studying the analysis of fabrics of victims of infection. Detection of bacterial toxins and genes, resistant to drugs, became a subject of other joint researches; use of toxins, strains of smallpox and plague. The geography of the organizations which are engaged in joint researches covers a considerable part of the territory of Russia, namely those areas where there are organizations which were engaged during "Cold War" in production of BO: Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk ("Vector"), Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, Vyatka, Pavlovo - Posada and Lyubchana (the last three cities are located near

of Moscow). Several institutes belonging to RAS also made the contribution to collaborations in this subject. However the staff of RAS prepared the publications together with scientists of the former defense organizations. Two hospitals - one in Yekaterinburg, and another - hospital of Botkin in Moscow in which were on treatment of victim of infection with anthrax in 1979 - actively participate in foreign scientific cooperation.

many reasons for which experts of the different countries or one country begin to cooperate, including for enrichment of own scientific knowledge, access to the equipment, resources, increase in efficiency of a research at emergence of a multidisciplinary task, for improvement of own professionalism and increase in the technique of an experiment, etc. Exist. In more detail these questions are taken up in work of professor D. Biver. In issues of the international cooperation affects as well the former place of work of the researcher. In the previous works as V.A. Markusova it was noted that cooperation of the Russian scientists with their foreign colleagues is often stimulated with our compatriots working abroad. The same phenomenon was noted in scientific cooperation of scientists of Estonia at a research of their scientific publications joint with foreign colleagues (Ullah, 10). For example, among authors of three Russian-American articles there was an academician A. Mirzabekov, the director of Institute of molecular biology of V.A. Engelgardt who works in the Argonne national laboratory, the USA now.

a Number of the researches devoted to scientific cooperation of the Russian scientists with their foreign colleagues showed that leaders of scientific cooperation are institutes and the RAS organizations - they possess more than 80% of joint publications. However in works on BO and BZ other picture is observed. Leaders of cooperation are the former military research institutes or institutes of AMN which at the time of "Cold War" were occupied partially with researches on preparation of BO.

2.4 Participation of the USA in the international scientific cooperation

of the USA put a significant amount of money in financing of scientific research of the scientists working in the organizations which were earlier engaged in development of BO. Since 1992 the U.S. Department of Energy carries out the special program promoting non-proliferation of BO. To 1 993 USA, Great Britain, Japan and several European states founded in Moscow special fund - the International center for science and technology (IBTO).

Basic purpose of fund - financing on a competitive basis of the applied researches declared the experts who were earlier working on problems of nuclear and biological weapon. The analysis of scientific publications of the massif explored by us showed that a number of publications appeared as a result of implementation of the projects financed by 1BTO. The American experts published 1181 articles during 1999-2000. To track evolution, the maintenance of the array of publications for 1991 and 2000 was studied, 268 works were in total analyzed. About 13% (34 works) of publications were recognized as irrelevant. The subject of the American publications is connected with the outbreak of infectious diseases in recent time; by new methods of the analysis and genetic engineering; creation of vaccines against anthrax (who could foresee that now there will be a sharp need for their use for treatment of the infected patients as a result of terrorist distribution of strains of anthrax in Florida, New York and Washington); ¡п^^го studying antibacterial activity of new antibiotics and their efficiency at treatment of an experimental tulyaremiya, history and epidemiology of diseases of plague, smallpox and other infectious diseases and also electronic microscopy and immune microscopy which are the integral component of diagnostic tests.

needs to emphasize

that the American infectiologists for a long time stated concern in unpreparedness of the American administration on federal and regional (states) levels and bodies of health care to the terrorist biological attack. Not accidentally in 2000 about 20% of publications were devoted to the analysis of the state of health of the military personnel which were involved in the war in the Persian Gulf and subject during military operations to dangerous biological and chemical reagents; to educational work with the population; to the procedure of the measures taken by medical personnel in hospitals in case of the sudden biological attack; to measures of civil defense. The American scientists emphasized in the works that it is necessary to provide big education in troops. It is known that during the war in the Persian Gulf the soldiers refused to accept antibiotics which could prevent influence of infections in case of unforeseen infection (Iraq possesses BO) as were afraid that it will affect their reproductive ability.

according to the reference media prepared by National scientific fund of the USA, "Indicators of development of science and technology in 2000", a share of articles published by the scientific USA together with scientists of other countries is made by 44%. In the massif presented here the share of joint publications of scientists of the USA made only 11.5%. Joint publications were prepared with scientists of 49 countries. It is interesting that in 1991 the scientific USA cooperated on this problem with scientists only of three countries, and in 2000 - with scientists from 39 countries. In total over the last ten years the scientific USA published joint articles with scientists from 49 countries. Let's note that generally scientific cooperation is based on work with experts from ten countries. In the descending order the scientific USA was published by the 24th robots with scientists of Great Britain, 18 - with scientists of Germany and 17 - with scientists of Russia.

of 39 countries participated in publications of one-two articles with the scientific USA. Usually such works were connected with natural outbreak of disease among the cattle or appearance of the specific viruses or microbes threatening to cause a loss to agriculture of these countries. Authors of the USA are presented by rather extensive network of the universities, National Institutes and hospitals. Two well-known national laboratories - the Argonne national laboratory in the State of Illinois and the Los Alamos national laboratory in the State of New Mexico - were also participants of publications, joint with Russia, on BZ. Despite decrease in a flow of the Russian publications on problems of BO and BZ, the American experts consider it necessary to promote expansion of the Russian-American cooperation. According to doctor D. Takker, the bioterrorism expert that "to prevent work of the Russian experts on such countries as Iran, and to prevent possible distribution of BO to other countries, the USA is obliged to expand the programs intended for support of peaceful researches of the former Soviet experts in BO and their organizations" (12).

the director of the Russian state center for virology and biotechnology "Vector" academician L. Sandakhchiyev announced

In March, 2001, speaking at a forum in Atlanta, about the multimillion project on creation on the basis of its institute of the international center for prevention of infectious diseases. The National Institute of health care of the USA participates in development of this project which can become one of the most expensive. The academician Sandakhchiyev hopes to get support of the media mogul Ted Turner and World Health Organization. If money is found, then the Institute which was earlier engaged in development of BO will open the doors for a scientific world (12). The biological attack by anthrax bacilli visually showed to the U.S. Government that it is necessary to strengthen the Russian-American cooperation in biological protection. In November-December, 2001 by the invitation of Fund of civil development (CRDF) - non-governmental private fund which task is joint cooperation of experts of Russia and the USA which was earlier working for defense - 18 experts from "Vector" spent month to the USA for exchange of experience and development of joint programs. In January, 2002 the Fund of civil development announced a competition on financing of joint projects in biological protection.

Authors of the real work firmly believe that the international cooperation on problems of fight against any kind of terrorism, and especially biological, will lead to creation of effective methods of prevention of destructive consequences of terrorist attack.

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