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Research Productivity and Rankings of Anesthesiology Departments in Canada and the United States: The Relationship Between the h-Index and Other Common Metrics

Bunting, Alexandra C. MD, BSc; Alavifard, Sepand HBSc; Walker, Benjamin; Miller, Donald R. MD; Ramsay, Tim PhD; Boet, Sylvain MD, PhD
doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002508
Research Report: PDF Only


To evaluate the relative research productivity and ranking of anesthesiology departments in Canada and the United States, using the Hirsch index (h-index) and 4 other previously validated metrics.


We identified 150 anesthesiology departments in Canada and the United States with an accredited residency program. Publications for each of the 150 departments were identified using Thomson’s Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science, and the citation report for each department was exported. The bibliometric data were used to calculate publication metrics for 3 time periods: cumulative (1945–2014), 10 years (2005–2014), and 5 years (2010–2014). The following group metrics were then used to determine the publication impact and relative ranking of all 150 departments: h-index, m-index, total number of publications, sum of citations, and average number of citations per article. Ranking for each metric were also stratified by using a proxy for departmental size. The most common journals in which US and Canadian anesthesiology departments publish their work were identified.


The majority (23 of the top 25) of top-ranked anesthesiology departments are in the United States, and 2 of the top 25 departments (University of Toronto; McGill University) are in Canada. There was a strong positive relationship between each of h-index, total number of publications, and the sum of citations (0.91–0.97; P < .0001). Departmental size correlates with increased academic productivity on most metrics. The most frequent journals in which US and Canadian anesthesiology departments publish are Anesthesiology, Anesthesia and Analgesia, and the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.


Our study ranked the Canadian and US anesthesiology departmental research productivity using the h-index applied to each department, total number of publications, total number of citations, and average number of citations. The strong relationship between the h-index and both the number of publications and number of citations of anesthesiology departments shows that the departments with the highest number of publications are also producing research with the most highly cited articles (ie, most impact), as demonstrated by the h-index.

Accepted for publication August 17, 2017.

Funding: This study has been partially funded by the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa. S.B. was supported by The Ottawa Hospital Anesthesia Alternate Funds Association.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (

Sylvain Boet is the archival author.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to Sylvain Boet, MD, PhD, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine & Department of Innovation in Medical Education, the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6, Canada. Address e-mail to

© 2017 International Anesthesia Research Society

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