Background: Evidence-based practice is a foundation to clinical excellence. However there remains little evidence on the characteristics of authors who contribute to the evidence-base and whether these have changed over time. The purpose of this study was to explore these characteristics by undertaking a bibliometric analysis to explore publication and authorship characteristics in a leading sub-speciality orthopaedic journal (The Knee) over a 20-year period. Methods: All articles published in The Knee in 1996, 2006 and 2016 were identified. For each article, data collected included: highest academic award; profession; gender; continent of first and last author; total number of authors; the level of evidence; and funding source. We analysed temporal changes in these variables using appropriate statistical models. Results: A total of 413 papers were analysed. Between 1996 to 2016 there has been a significant increase in the overall number of authors, the number of paper submitted from Asia, the proportion of Level 1 or 2 tiered evidence, the proportion of people with Bachelor or Master-level degrees as their highest level of educational award and the proportion of non-medically qualified authors (P < 0.001). From 2006 to 2016 there was a significant increase in the proportion of articles whose first author was female (P = 0.03), but no significant change in the number of females as last author (P = 0.43). Conclusion: The findings indicate that there have been changes in publication and authorship characteristics in this sub-speciality orthopaedic journal during the past 20 years. This provides encouraging indication of greater diversification and internationalisation of orthopaedic research.