Plastic Surgery Research Council
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PSRC 60th Annual Meeting

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Bibliometric Indices and Academic Promotion within Plastic Surgery
Katherine Gast, MD, MS, William M. Kuzon, Jr., MD, PhD, Jennifer F. Waljee, MD, MS, MPH.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Purpose: Bibliometric indices have been proposed as a measure to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate scholarly output within academic medicine. However, the extent to which these metrics reflect promotion in academic practice remains unclear. We sought to validate bibliometric indices as an indicator of academic productivity within plastic surgery and their association with promotion of faculty surgeons in academic practice.
Methods: Our sample included faculty members (n=142) from ten accredited plastic surgery programs in the United States frequently represented at national research conferences. As a measure of content validity, we examined peer-reviewed publications and citations of eight past winners of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons annual research achievement award. Individual author bibliometric indices including h-index, contemporary h-index (hc-index), and g-index were calculated using Harzing Publish or Perish software. The h-index quantifies an individual’s scientific research output providing a single-number metric of impact by combining number of citations with number of peer-reviewed publications. In contrast, g-indices give more weight to highly cited articles and hc-indices to recent publications. Range of bibliometric indices for all faculty was h-index of 0 to 84, g-index of 0 to 146, and hc-index of 0 to 43. Surgeons were then clustered according to academic rank and cutoff values correlated with academic promotion for associate and assistant professor were calculated using receiver-operating curves. Logistic regression was used to examine the correlation between bibliometric indices and promotion, controlling for fellowship training and advanced degrees
Results: All eight past winners of the AAPS Research Award have high bibliometric indices with mean h-index of 46.4, g-index of 83.1, and hc-index 26.6. Mean h-index, g-index, hc-index, and number of peer-reviewed publications increased with academic rank (Table 1). Cutoffs for promotion between assistant to associate professor and between associate to full professor were distinguished at h-index of 9 and 13, g-index of 16 and 28, hc-index of 6 and 11, and number of peer-reviewed publications of 23 and 40. After controlling for fellowship training and advanced degrees, bibliometric indices and the number of peer-reviewed publications were associated with promotion, with h-index (OR=1.22; 95%CI: 1.12-1.34) most highly correlated with promotion to associate professor, and hc-index (OR=1.26; 95%CI: 1.16-1.39) most highly correlated with promotion to full professor.
Conclusions: Bibliometric indices predict promotion in academic surgery, and provide a useful metric for surgeons embarking on a career in academia.


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