Purpose: To study the status of contribution by non-English speaking countries to international rehabilitation literature taking Japan as an example, and to suggest recommendations to overcome the language barrier. Method: Descriptive study using a systematic MEDLINE search with outcome measures of annual numbers and proportions of articles by Japanese physiatrists published in peer-reviewed English rehabilitation journals, and of categories and types of studies. A database containing 292 relevant articles were used for analysis. Results: The publications have steadily increased annually both in absolute number and in proportion. The number was the largest for Arch Phys Med Rehabil (16.8%), followed by Am J Phys Med Rehabil (12.3%), Prosthet Orthot Int (8.6%), Disabil Rehabil (5.1 %) and so on. The percentage by category was the highest for stroke (26.0%), followed by spinal cord injury (11.6%), neurophysiology (11.6%) and amputation (6.2%), 67.8% of the articles were related to evaluation, 6.5% to outcome studies and 25.7% to therapy. The majority were descriptive studies (45.5%), followed by case control studies (13.0%), before-and-after trials (12.3%), case reports (7.2%) and others. Conclusion: The contribution from Japan to international rehabilitation literature is increasing. Measures were suggested to facilitate more scientific contribution by non-English speaking researchers.
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