The H-index as a marker for
productivity among academic
plastic surgeons in the United
• Currently, there are 125 ACGME accredited
plastic surgery training programs in the country.
• Application for academic faculty positions remain
a strongly competitive field.
• Scholarly productivity is perceived as a crucial
pre-requisite to compete for faculty positions.
• Keeping track of productivity in research output
continues to be one of the attributes of
promotion within the academic faculty.
• Traditionally, the determinant of academic
productivitiy relies on the number of
publication yield for each applicant.
• This, however, does not provide a strong
indication about the quality or the citation
index of publications.
• Recently, the Hirsch(H) index has emerged as
an acceptable indicator for academic
• The H-index was first developed in 2005 by
Hirsch(JE Hirsch 2005).
• The H-index takes 2 things into account of its
calculation, that is the number of publications
and number of citations of each paper .
• If an author has a H-index of 20, this means that
20 of his/her publications has been cited 20
• If the author has 38 articles, it means the other
18 articles were cited (h) times less (in this case,
less than 20 times).
• In this study, the purpose is 4-fold
• To determine the top 3 plastic surgery training
programs that produced the highest number academic
faculty members and aim to compare the average H
indices of surgeons trained from respective institutions
• To determine if there was a relationship between H-
indices and the amount of funding received by the
National Institute of Health (NIH) received per plastic
• To determine the academic institutions with the
highest average of H-index.
• FREIDA Online® (https://freida.ama-assn.org)
to identify for all ACGME-accredited plastic
surgery training programs.
• A total of 125 programs ( 53 integrated + x
independent ) were found.
• Plastic surgeons were included for this study if
they (i) held full-time faculty appointment and
(ii) have been board certified by the American
Board of Plastic Surgery(ABPS).
• Information on the following profile were
obtained for each academic plastic surgeon
• medical school attended
• training in plastic surgery
• Faculty rank profile (Assistant Professor, Associate
• Declared subspecialty of interest (Breast,
Aesthetics, Craniofacial, Transplant, Facial
Reanimation, Surgical Oncology, Hand Surgery,
Complex wound healing, Upper/ Lower Extremity
• We used 2 proprietary bibliometric databases
to identify for H-indices, namely SciVerse’s
Scopus and Thomson Reuter’s Web of
• Of all faculty members, only 31(x%) were
reported to have received NIH funding.
• The average H index of NIH funded faculty
members were 21.25 ±7.23 in Scopus and
21.81 ±14.57 in WoS.
• Average H index of non-funded faculty
members were 6.46 ± 6.04 and 6.33 ± 6.1 in
Scopus and WoS respectively.
H indices based on NIH funding recipients
Funded (n=16) 21.25 ± 7.23 21.81 ± 14.57
Not funded(n=491) 6.46 ± 6.04 6.33 ± 6.1
H index in scopus based on NIH
0 = not funded
1 = funded
H index in scopus based on faculty
Assistant professor Associate Professor Professor
Scopus WOS Scopus WOS Scopus WOS
Deviation 4.234 ± 3.983 3.964 ± 3.62 8.943 ± 5.71 7.864 ± 5.29 12.268 ± 7.81 13.024 ± 9.38
1 = Professor
2 = Associate Professor