Academic Productivity of US Neurosurgery Residents as Measured by H-Index: Program Ranking with Correlation to Faculty Productivity

Neurosurgery. 2017 Jun 1;80(6):975-984. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx071.


Engagement in research and academic productivity are crucial components in the training of a neurosurgeon. This process typically begins in residency training. In this study, we analyzed individual resident productivity as it correlated to publications across all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited neurosurgery training programs in an attempt to identify how programs have developed and fostered a research culture and environment. We obtained a list of current neurosurgery residents in ACGME-accredited programs from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database. An expanded PubMed and Scopus search was conducted for each resident through the present time. We tabulated all articles attributed to each resident. We then categorized the publications based on each neurosurgical subspecialty while in residency. A spreadsheet-based statistical analysis was performed. This formulated the average number of resident articles, h-indices, and most common subspecialty categories by training program. We analyzed 1352 current neurosurgery residents in 105 programs. There were a total of 10 645 publications, of which 3985 were resident first-author publications during the period of study. The most common subspecialties among all resident publications were vascular (24.9%), spine (16.9%), oncology (16.1%), pediatric (5.6%), functional (4.9%), and trauma (3.8%). The average resident published 2.9 first-author papers with average of 38.0 first-author publications by total residents at each program (range 0-241). The average h-index per resident is 2.47 ± 3.25. When comparing previously published faculty h-index program rankings against our resident h-index rankings, there is a strong correlation between the 2 datasets with a clear delineation between Top-20 productivity and that of other programs (average h-index 4.2 vs 1.7, respectively, P < .001). Increasing program size leads to a clear increase in academic productivity on both the resident and faculty level (average h-index 1.6, 1.9, 3.9 for 1, 2, and 3 resident per year programs, respectively, P < .001). Resident first-author publications correlated with recently described academic departmental productivity. Subspecialty resident publications are highest in cerebrovascular surgery. Resident research and publication is a key metric for assessing the productivity of academic neurosurgery programs and is consistent with one of the core foci of neurosurgical training.

Keywords: ACGME neurosurgery programs; Academic neurosurgery; Bibliometrics; H-index; Neurosurgery resident; PubMed; Research productivity; Scopus.

MeSH terms

  • Efficiency*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Neurosurgeons*
  • Neurosurgery
  • Scholarly Communication*
  • United States