Assessing National Institutes of Health funding and scholarly impact in neurological surgery: Clinical article

Peter F. Svider, Qasim Husain, Adam J. Folbe, William T. Couldwell, James K. Liu, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Object. Research productivity is increasingly important in academic neurological surgery and can be measured through a variety of methods, such as publications, objective bibliometrics, and securing external grant support. The authors' objectives were to determine whether there is an association between scholarly impact, as measured by the h index, and successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding awarded to faculty in neurological surgery departments. Methods. Primary investigators receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards from Fiscal Years 2011-2013 were organized by academic rank, terminal degree, and their h index, as calculated from the Scopus database. These data were also obtained for nonfunded faculty from 15 randomly selected departments for comparison, and the average h index for each group was calculated. Results. National Institutes of Health-funded faculty had higher average h indices than their nonfunded colleagues (23.6 vs 10.8, p < 0.0001), a finding that persisted upon controlling for academic rank. The mean h index increased with successive academic rank in both cohorts; greater funding totals were seen with successive academic position (Kruskal-Wallis, p < 0.05). National Institutes of Health-funded MDs had higher h indices than their PhD colleagues (p = 0.04), although funding levels did not differ significantly. There was a trend of increasing h index with higher NIH-funding ranges (p < 0.05). Conclusions. The authors' findings demonstrate a strong relationship between scholarly impact and securing NIH funding among faculty in academic neurosurgical departments. Faculty receiving a greater amount of funding tended to have a higher h index. Mean scholarly impact, as measured by the h index, increased with successive academic rank among both NIH-funded and nonfunded faculty, suggesting that this bibliometric may have utility as an adjunct in the academic appointment and promotion process in academic neurological surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Academic promotion
  • H index
  • National institutes of health funding
  • Research productivity
  • Scholarly impact


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