ORIGINAL ARTICLE – HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH AND GLOBAL ONCOLOGY
Academic Surgical Oncologists’ Productivity Correlates
with Gender, Grant Funding, and Institutional NCI
Comprehensive Cancer Center Afﬁliation
Vi Nguyen, BS
, Rebecca A. Marmor, MD
, Sonia L. Ramamoorthy, MD
, Sarah L. Blair, MD
Bryan M. Clary, MD
, and Jason K. Sicklick, MD
School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA;
Department of Surgery, University of California,
San Diego, La Jolla, CA;
Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Moores Cancer Center, University of
California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA;
Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Moores Cancer Center,
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Background. A scholar’s h-index is deﬁned as the num-
ber of h papers published, each of which has been cited at
least h times. We hypothesized that the h-index strongly
correlates with the academic rank of surgical oncologists.
Methods. We utilized the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
website to identify NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer
Centers (CCC) and Doximity to identify the 50 highest-
ranked general surgery residency programs with surgical
oncology divisions. Demographic data of respective aca-
demic surgical oncologists were collected from
departmental websites and Grantome. Bibliometric data
were obtained from Web of Science.
Results. We identiﬁed 544 surgical oncologists from 64
programs. Increased h-index was associated with academic
rank (p \ 0.001), male gender (p \ 0.001), number of
National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants (p \ 0.001), and
afﬁliation with an NCI CCC (p = 0.018) but not number of
additional degrees (p = 0.661) or Doximity ranking
(p = 0.102). H-index was a stronger predictor of academic
rank (r = 0.648) than total publications (r = 0.585) or
citations (r = 0.450).
Conclusions. This is the ﬁrst report to assess the h-index
within academic surgical oncology. H-index is a biblio-
metric predictor of academic rank that correlates with NIH
grant funding and NCI CCC afﬁliation. We also highlight a
previously unexpected and unappreciated gender disparity
in the academic productivity of US surgical oncologists.
When academic rank was accounted for, female surgical
oncologists had lower h-indices compared with their male
colleagues. Evaluation of the etiologies of this gender
disparity is needed to address barriers to academic pro-
ductivity faced by female surgical oncologists as they
progress through their careers.
Research productivity often is used as a criterion for
decision-making in faculty recruitment, promotion, com-
pensation, tenure, and grant support.
scientiﬁc eminence has been quantiﬁed by total publication
or citation count. However, these cumulative metrics do
not sufﬁciently evaluate the quality of one’s scholarly
output. For example, total publication count does not
account for journal impact factor, and total citation count
may be skewed if an author has one highly cited paper
amongst other less frequently cited articles. Consequently,
Dr. Jorge Hirsch from UC San Diego developed the h-in-
dex to assess research output.
The h-index is deﬁned as the number of h papers pub-
lished, each of which has been cited at least h times.
an author with an h-index of ten has published ten papers
that have each been cited at least ten times. Hirsch has
This work will be presented at the 2018 SSO Annual Cancer
Symposium (March 21–24) in Chicago, IL.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (https://doi.org/10.1245/s10434-018-6450-5) contains supple-
mentary material, which is available to authorized users.
Ó Society of Surgical Oncology 2018
First Received: 18 September 2017;
Published Online: 29 March 2018
J. K. Sicklick, MD
Ann Surg Oncol (2018) 25:1852–1859