External funding of obstetrical publications: citation significance and trends over 2 decades

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The objective of the study was to identify the external funding status of the most frequently cited obstetrical publications (citation classics) and to assess trends in funded vs nonfunded manuscripts as well as each publication's type of external funding.


For the first objective, the citation classics, which were reported in a previous publication, were reviewed to identify their funding status. For the second objective, all pregnancy-related and obstetrical publications from the 2 US-based leading journals, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, were reviewed to identify the funding status and trends between 1989 and 2012.


Twenty-seven of 44 of the citation classics (61%) had external funding, whereas only 43% of the reviewed regular (non-citation classic) obstetrical publications had external funding. There was a decreasing trend in the number of obstetrical manuscripts associated with a decreasing trend in the number and proportion of nonfunded manuscripts and an increasing trend in the number and proportion of National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded manuscripts. Relative to 1989, in 2012 there was a 34.8% decrease in the number of published obstetrical manuscripts, a 59.6% decrease in the number of nonfunded manuscripts, and a 6.8% increase in the number of funded manuscripts accompanied by an 8.2% increase in the number of NIH-funded publications. In the last 9 years (2004-2012), there was a 35.1% increase in the proportion of NIH-funded manuscripts accompanied by an 18.8% decrease in the proportion of non–NIH-funded manuscripts.


Our findings provide useful data regarding the importance of securing NIH-based funding for physicians contemplating academic careers in obstetrics.

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