Who, where, what and where to now? A snapshot of publishing patterns in Australian orthopaedic surgery

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Research is fundamental to ensure high‐quality, accessible patient‐centred orthopaedic surgical services for the Australian community. Accordingly, there is an impetus to develop research capability within orthopaedics.1 Developing research capability is a challenging undertaking requiring widespread multifaceted engagement from the Australian orthopaedic surgical community.
The Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA) promotes the development of research capability through provision of funding, seminars and requirements in training selection and completion.2 To fulfil training requirements, Australian orthopaedic trainees must provide evidence of dissemination of research findings through conference presentations or journal publications. Journal publications have the potential for a wider audience and greater impact on clinical practice.
The development of a researcher's knowledge, behaviours and attitudes is a lifelong pursuit, requiring a supportive environment, mentorship and guidance, as well as preparedness, motivation and ability to work with others.5 The development of research capability can be guided by models such as the ‘Bland et al. 2002 Model of Faculty Research Productivity’, subjectively evaluated using models such as the ‘Vitae Researcher Development Framework’ or objectively measured via tracking the dissemination of individual's findings through citation‐based metrics.5 In relation to the latter, journal impact factor (JIF) is a dynamic bibliometric measure of journal prestige calculated by averaging the citation per article published in the journal over the prior two calendar years.7 While a rudimentary marker, it is widely recognized as a reasonable proxy indicator of journal quality.8 Additional surrogate measures include ‘levels of evidence’, which have been adopted from Oxford's Centre for Evidence‐Based Medicine (CEBM) by several orthopaedic journals.10 While research collaboration is complex and difficult to measure, co‐authorship provides a useful surrogate measure of researchers’ collaboration.12
Currently, there are no objective data to document the current state of orthopaedic research in Australia. We aim to provide an objective snapshot of research publications in orthopaedic journals with a JIF >1 by Australian orthopaedic trainees and surgeons, in order to contribute to the ongoing discussion on building research capability in the AOA.
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