Gender differences in promotion and scholarly impact: An analysis of 1460 academic ophthalmologists

Santiago A. Lopez, Peter F. Svider, Poonam Misra, Neelakshi Bhagat, Paul D. Langer, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Objectives In recent years, gender differences in academic promotion have been documented within surgical fields. To the best of our knowledge, gender discrepancies in association with scholarly productivity have not been well assessed among academic ophthalmologists. Because research productivity is strongly associated with academic career advancement, we sought to determine whether gender differences in scholarly impact, measured by the h-index, exist among academic ophthalmologists.

Design Academic rank and gender were determined using faculty listings from academic ophthalmology departments. h-index and publication experience (in years) of faculty members were determined using the Scopus database.

Setting Academic medical center.

Results From assistant professor through professor, the h-index increased with subsequent academic rank (p < 0.001), although between chairpersons and professors no statistical difference was found (p > 0.05). Overall, men had higher h-indices (h = 10.4 ± 0.34 standard error of mean) than women (h = 6.0 ± 0.38 standard error of mean), a finding that was only statistically significant among assistant professors in a subgroup analysis. Women were generally underrepresented among senior positions. When controlling for publication range (i.e., length of time publishing), men had higher h-indices among those with 1 to 10 years of publication experience (p < 0.0001), whereas women had scholarly impact equivalent to and even exceeding that of men later in their careers.

Conclusion Women in academic ophthalmology continue to be underrepresented among senior faculty. Although women surpass men in scholarly productivity during the later stages of their careers, low scholarly impact during the earlier stages may impede academic advancement and partly explain the gender disparity in senior academic positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-859
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Education


  • academic ophthalmologists
  • academicpro- motion
  • genderdisparities
  • h-index


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