Academic Surgical Oncologists’ Productivity Correlates with Gender, Grant Funding, and Institutional NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Affiliation
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A scholar’s h-index is defined as the number of h papers published, each of which has been cited at least h times. We hypothesized that the h-index strongly correlates with the academic rank of surgical oncologists.
We utilized the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website to identify NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC) and Doximity to identify the 50 highest-ranked general surgery residency programs with surgical oncology divisions. Demographic data of respective academic surgical oncologists were collected from departmental websites and Grantome. Bibliometric data were obtained from Web of Science.
We identified 544 surgical oncologists from 64 programs. Increased h-index was associated with academic rank (p < 0.001), male gender (p < 0.001), number of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants (p < 0.001), and affiliation with an NCI CCC (p = 0.018) but not number of additional degrees (p = 0.661) or Doximity ranking (p = 0.102). H-index was a stronger predictor of academic rank (r = 0.648) than total publications (r = 0.585) or citations (r = 0.450).
This is the first report to assess the h-index within academic surgical oncology. H-index is a bibliometric predictor of academic rank that correlates with NIH grant funding and NCI CCC affiliation. We also highlight a previously unexpected and unappreciated gender disparity in the academic productivity of US surgical oncologists. When academic rank was accounted for, female surgical oncologists had lower h-indices compared with their male colleagues. Evaluation of the etiologies of this gender disparity is needed to address barriers to academic productivity faced by female surgical oncologists as they progress through their careers.
The authors acknowledge the support of NIH T15LM011271 (R.A. Marmor) and K08 CA168999 and R21 CA192072 (J.K. Sicklick)
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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