Journal of Clinical & Academic Ophthalmology 2016; 08(01): e19-e29
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1581111
Research Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Publication Productivity for Academic Ophthalmologists and Academic Ophthalmology Departments in the United States: an Analytical Report

Craig R. Thiessen
1   College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, Tennessee
Garrett T. Venable
1   College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, Tennessee
Nick C. Ridenhour
2   School of Health Professions, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama
Natalie C. Kerr
3   Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, Tennessee
4   Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

02 November 2015

29 January 2016

Publication Date:
31 March 2016 (online)


Purpose Quantifying scholarly output for academic ophthalmologists and academic ophthalmology departments provides a benchmark for academic productivity, offering information about how well an academic department facilitates the scholarly activity of its faculty. Bibliometrics is a statistical method to analyze scientific literature. Among benchmarking methods, the h-index has been the most widely accepted. The h-index samples a researcher's publication quantity while controlling for quality through citation count. The m-quotient adjusts the h-index according to the number of years since the first peer-reviewed publication, allowing for productivity assessments independent of career length. This study utilizes bibliometrics to create profiles for academic ophthalmology in the United States.

Methods Bibliometric profiles were created for 2,824 ophthalmologists from 110 nonmilitary departments. Profiles included the h-index and m-quotient calculated from an online citation database. Comparisons between academic rank, gender, region, and subspecialty were performed. Departments were ranked by the summation as well as the mean of h-indices for each faculty member.

Results The mean h-index and m-quotient were 10.56 ± 11.96 and 0.52 ± 0.44, respectively. Both of these values exhibited a positive relationship with increasing academic rank (p < 0.001). Faculty with subspecialties in ocular oncology, pathology, vitreoretinal disease, neuro-ophthalmology, and uveitis had higher mean h-indices than those in cornea and external disease, glaucoma, pediatrics, oculoplastics, anterior segment, and comprehensive ophthalmology. Males (n = 1,989) demonstrated a significantly higher mean h-index than females (n = 835), 12.12 ± 12.66 versus 6.84 ± 9.07. This difference was still significant after correcting for academic rank (p < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference in m-quotients between genders (p = 0.955). Ranked by summed h-indices, the top five programs for publication productivity in the United States in descending order were Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Miami, Thomas Jefferson University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Conclusion This report benchmarks the publication productivity of academic ophthalmologists and academic ophthalmology departments in the United States. These results may serve program development in academic ophthalmology departments and prospective trainees and faculty.


This article was presented in part as a poster at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, November 14 to 17, 2015.