Does Sex Influence Publication Productivity Among Colorectal Surgeons Participating in Fellowship Training Programs?

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Underrepresentation of highly ranked women in academic surgery is recognized.

OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to examine whether sex differences exist in faculty representation, academic rank, and publication productivity among colorectal faculty in fellowship programs.

DESIGN:

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons fellowship program faculty were identified. Bibliometric data were obtained for each faculty member, including Hirsch index, the Hirsch index divided by research career duration, and number of publications. Linear mixed-effect regression models were constructed to determine the association between the Hirsch index and the Hirsch index divided by research career duration and sex, when controlling for institutional measures. A subset analysis of academic faculty examined the association between academic rank, sex, and Hirsch index and the Hirsch index divided by research career duration.

SETTINGS:

Colorectal fellowship programs, defined as academic, satellite-academic, and nonacademic, were evaluated.

RESULTS:

Three hundred fifty-eight faculty members were examined across 55 training programs; 22% (n = 77) were women and 78% (n = 281) were men. Sixty-one percent (n = 220) practiced in an academic setting, 23% (n = 84) in a satellite-academic setting, and 15% (n = 54) in a nonacademic setting. There was no difference in median number of publications between sexes (15 vs 10, p = 0.33); men, however, had longer careers (18 vs 11 years, p < 0.001). When controlling for confounders, there was no difference in the Hirsch index (p = 0.42) or the Hirsch index divided by research career duration (p = 0.73) between sexes. Academic rank was significantly associated with Hirsch index and the Hirsch index divided by research career duration (p < 0.001) after controlling for sex.

LIMITATIONS:

Our assessment of association between publication productivity and academic rank was only possible in the subset of academic faculty. In addition, this study is limited by its retrospective nature.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found no difference in median number of publications between men and women. When controlling for possible confounders, sex was not a significant predictor of a faculty member’s publication productivity, as measured by the Hirsch index or the Hirsch index divided by research career duration; academic rank, however, was.

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