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Publish or Perish?: Physician Research Productivity During Residency Training

Gaught, Amber M.H. MD; Cleveland, Christine A. MD; Hill, James J. III MD, MPH

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: August 2013 - Volume 92 - Issue 8 - p 710–714
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182876197
Education & Administration

Objective The aim of this study was to describe the rate and the types of resident physician peer-reviewed publications. Variables of interest include the type of publications, subject matter, external funding, study design, and quality of research by resident physicians published while in training.

Design This is a retrospective cohort study of physicians who passed part II of the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation certification examination in 2007 and 2008 (N = 654).

Results The percentage of resident physicians with at least one publication during the study period was 19.9% (2007 cohort) and 16.3% (2008 cohort). Case reports (31%) and review articles (21%) represented more than half of all publications. There was no statistical difference in the publication rates between the allopathic and osteopathic physicians and between the size and the type of residency program. The publications in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (17.8%) and the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (15.2%) accounted for more than 30% of published research. External funding was identified in 39% of the articles. Thirteen percent of the articles had no subsequent citations.

Conclusions One in five resident physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians were identified as having peer-reviewed publications during residency. The typical resident physician publication was found to be a clinically focused case report or review article published in a rehabilitation-targeted journal. Existing resident research requirements and resident research programs may need to be reevaluated in light of these findings.

From the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: James J. Hill III, MD, MPH, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, N1181 Memorial Hospital, 101 Manning Dr, CB 7200, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7200.

Amber M.H. Gaught, MD, and Christine A. Cleveland, MD, are resident physicians at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina.

Presented as an oral presentation at the 2012 Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV. Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins