Cuban medical universities from the context of SCImago Institutions Ranking


Cuban medical universities from the context of SCImago Institutions Ranking


Universidades médicas cubanas desde el contexto de SCImago Institutions Rank



Javier Gonzalez-Argote1, Alexis Alejandro Garcia-Rivero2, Lissette Cárdenas de Baños3

1 Victoria de GirónPre-clinical and Basic Sciences Institute. Havana University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail:
2 Victoria de GirónPre-clinical and Basic Sciences Institute. Havana University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail:
3 "Miguel Enríquez" Medical Sciences Faculty. Havana University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail:




The university was defined as a knowledge-generating institution with research, innovation and creativity as its first fruits. The SCImago Institutions Rankings takes as a database to Scopus; it shows a ranking of institutions and organizations with productions that exceed the 100 annual academic publications. The Cuban institutions present in this ranking were presented for the year 2015-2017, as well as their indicators. Only the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences in Havana was found in 2015, and appeared again in 2017. However, by 2016 it had not positioned any higher medical education center. It is opposed to this that the training of human resources has had an exponential growth and that there is a scientific potential not only high in number but in quality. The absence of Cuban medical universities was considered multifactorial.

MeSH: education Medical, scientific publication indicators .


Se definió la universidad como institución generadora de conocimiento teniendo como primicias la investigación, innovación y la creatividad. El SCImago Institutions Rankings toma como base de datos a Scopus, muestra un ranking de instituciones y organizaciones con producciones que superan las 100 publicaciones académicas anuales. Se presentaron las instituciones cubanas presentes en este ranking para 2015-2017, así como sus indicadores. Solo la Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana se encontró en 2015 y reaparece en 2017; sin embargo, para 2016 no hubo posicionado ningún centro de educación médica superior. Se opone a ello que la formación de recursos humanos ha tenido un crecimiento exponencial, y que se cuenta con un potencial científico no solo elevado en número sino en calidad. Se consideró como multifactorial la ausencia de las universidades médicas cubanas.

DeCS: educación médica, indicadores de producción científica.



The university has been qualified as a generator of knowledge, so institutions of higher education are based on research, innovation and creativity. The perspectives of the knowledge and innovation society are conditioned by global trends in higher education.1 In this sense, university research must be focused on global issues as well as contribute to generate knowledge in key areas to the country's development. The transfer of such knowledge in order to meet the needs of society is a premise.

Talking about the quality of higher education is a vitally important subject, including the health science schools that play a leading role in this regard. One of the ways to assess this indicator is through the quantity and impact of research and publications.

Mediated by the exponential growth of the information and facilities of the Internet, initiatives have been developed to classify universities and institutions, represented in various rankings established by prestigious entities worldwide.2

The SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR), which takes as a database the Scopus of Elsevier3, shows a ranking with institutions and organizations whose production exceeds 100 academic yearly publications. It is based on several indicators that are grouped in: research, innovation and social impact.

Since 2010 and with annual frequency, the group establishes the Ibero-American Ranking which is presented as a tool for analysis and evaluation of research activity in higher education institutions in Latin America. Recently, with the change to the Web 3.0 platform of the SCImago sites, access is immediate and level of updating greater than the indicators that this organization provides.

The following table shows the Cuban institutions present in this ranking in 2015 and 2017.

It´s notorious in this table that in 2015 the previously called Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of Havana was in the ranking and appeared again in 2017; however, by 2016 no higher medical education center was found. The name of the institution was in the registers of 2017, in spite of having been named as Havana University of Medical Sciences since 2009.4

It is possible, for the authors' consideration that the change of nomenclature has resulted in difficulties in collecting the scientific production of Cuban medical institutions.

Taking into account that human resources training has grown exponentially in recent years and that by 2016 there were 76 329 students enrolled in Cuba, 9,015 graduates, 26,228 residents and 4,859 specialists,5 a high percentage of them are teachers of higher medical education; It can be affirmed that there is a scientific potential, not only high in number, but in quality if it is analyzed that:

  • Professionals must make publications to close the researching cycle, to ratify and/or promote scientific, teaching and researching ranks.
  • In particular, teaching evaluation processes measure scientific output, expressed in publications.
  • In universities, new knowledge is produced so that in order to be generalized and registered, must lead to scientific publications. However, studies show that there is a lack of scientific production of university professors in the medical sciences. It is a chronic problem that negatively influences all scientific quality indicators.6
  • The research profile is collected in all undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, for which a series of skills are formed in the students; However, the students´ publications are still insufficient.7

The absence of the Cuban medical universities in the most recent report of the ranking is multifactorial and can be given by three fundamental components:

  • Magazines enter incorrect or incomplete index metadata into the Scopus database.
  • The authors erroneously indicate their affiliation or omit the university work.
  • Institutions do not promote publication in this database.

In view of the above results, institutional policies on science and technology need to be improved, to implement concrete strategies to raise the quality of research with the capacity to generate scientific articles at the level of the so-called "mainstream" of science, seek national and international collaboration; find channels to ensure greater visibility of articles, enhance young science, and create a system of stimulation to those who encourage their centers to meet the new trends in higher education being worthy followers of the words of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro when he asserted that: "... this country must necessarily be a country of men of science, men of thought, men of Revolution".


Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interests.



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8. Castro Ruz F. Discurso pronunciado en el acto celebrado por la Sociedad Espeleológica de Cuba. La Habana: Academia de Ciencias; 1960.



Submitted: January 20 2017.
Accepted: June 16 2017.



Javier Gonzalez Argote. Victoria de Girón Pre-clinical and Basic Sciences Institute. Havana University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail:

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