Research productivity and gender disparities: A look at academic plastic surgery

Angie M. Paik, Leila J. Mady, Nathaniel L. Villanueva, Erden Goljo, Peter F. Svider, Frank Ciminello, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Objectives The h-index has utility in examining the contributions of faculty members by quantifying both the amount and the quality of research output and as such is a metric in approximating academic productivity. The objectives of this study were (1) to evaluate the relationship between h-index and academic rank in plastic surgery and (2) to describe the current gender representation in academic plastic surgery to assess whether there are any gender disparities in academic productivity. Design The h-index was used to evaluate the research contributions of plastic surgeons from academic departments in the United States. Results There were 426 (84%) men and 79 (16%) women in our sample. Those in higher academic ranks had higher h-index scores (p < 0.0005). There was a significant difference in overall mean h-index by gender, where the mean scores were 9.0 and 6.0 for men and women, respectively (p = 0.0005). When analyzed by academic rank, there was a significant difference in academic productivity between men and women in assistant and associate professor positions (6.4 vs 5.1, respectively; p = 0.04). Conclusions The h-index is able to objectively and reliably quantify academic productivity in plastic surgery. We found that h-indices increased with higher academic rank, and men had overall higher scores than their female colleagues. Adoption of this metric as an adjunct to other objective and subjective measures by promotions committees may provide a more reliable measure of research relevance and academic productivity in academic plastic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-600
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Education


  • academic productivity
  • academic promotion
  • gender disparity
  • h-index
  • plastic surgery
  • research productivity


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