Pathologists provide the link between the clinical and the natural science aspect of medicine and are often integrated in translational research projects. We wanted to analyse the spread and position of research led by pathologists in the scientific literature. Publications from institutes of pathology of 21 randomly chosen German university cities between 2004 and 2006 were analysed. To validate our findings we subsequently extended our analysis to 45 university cities from Italy, France and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). We detected publications directed by pathologists in numerous biomedical journals, most of which not categorised as "pathology" journals. In the analyses from Germany and Italy, Virchows Archiv led the ranking in terms of absolute number of publications. Meanwhile, Anticancer Research and the International Journal of Cancer took the lead concerning publications from pathologists from the Nordic countries. Our results mirror the wide diversification in scientific pathology and the overlap with other medical subspecialties, especially oncology, cell biology and biochemistry. This explains the problem of defining "pathology" journals and deducting pathological research activity from these publications. However, the general notion that pathology journals are the most important communication medium of pathology research was affirmed.