Citation-based Estimation of Scholarly Activity Among Domestic Academic Radiation Oncologists: Five-Year Update

J Radiat Oncol. 2014 Mar 1;3(1):115-122. doi: 10.1007/s13566-013-0103-x.


Objective: To analyze up-to-date Hirsch index (h-index) data to estimate the scholarly productivity of academic radiation oncology faculty.

Methods: Bibliometric citation database searches were performed for radiation oncology faculty at domestic residency-training institutions. Outcomes analyzed included the number of manuscripts, number of citations, and h-index between 1996 and 2012. Analyses of overall h-index rankings with stratification by academic ranking, gender, and departmental faculty size were performed.

Results: One thousand thirty-seven radiation oncologists from 87 programs were included. Overall, the mean h-index was 10.8. Among the top 10% by h-index, 38% were chairpersons, all were senior faculty, and 11% were women. As expected, higher h-index was associated with higher academic ranking and senior faculty status. Recursive partitioning analysis revealed an h-index threshold of 20 (p <0.001) as an identified breakpoint between senior vs. junior faculty. Furthermore, h-index breakpoints of 12 (p <0.001) and 25 (p <0.001) were identified between assistant professor vs. associate professor, and associate professor vs. professor levels, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified higher academic ranking, male gender, and larger departmental faculty size as independent variables associated with higher h-index.

Conclusion: The current results suggest an overall rise in scholarly citation metrics among domestic academic radiation oncologists, with a current mean h-index of 10.8, vs. 8.5 in 2008. Significant relationships exist between h-index and academic rank, gender, and departmental size. The results offer up-to-date benchmarks for evaluating academic radiation oncologist to the national average and potentially has utility in the process of appointment and promotion decisions.

Keywords: Academic productivity; Bibliometrics; H-index; Publications; Radiation Oncology.