H-index and academic rank in general surgery and surgical specialties in the United States

Awais Ashfaq, Roshini Kalagara, Nabil Wasif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: H-index serves as an alternative to measure academic achievement. Our objective is to study the h-index as a measure of academic attainment in general surgery and surgical specialties. Methods: A database of all surgical programs in the United States was created. Publish or Perish software was used to determine surgeons h-index. Results: A total of 134 hospitals and 3712 surgeons (79% male) were included. Overall, mean h-index was 14.9 ± 14.8. H-index increased linearly with academic rank: 6.8 ± 6.4 for assistant professors (n = 1557, 41.9%), 12.9 ± 9.3 for associate professors (n = 891, 24%), and 27.9 ± 17.4 for professors (n = 1170, 31.5%); P < 0.001. Thoracic surgery and surgical oncology had the highest subspecialty mean h-indices (18.7 ± 16.7 and 18.4 ± 17.6, respectively). Surgeons with additional postgraduate degrees, university affiliations and male had higher mean h-indices; P < 0.001. Scatterplot analysis showed a strong correlation between h-index and the number of publications (R2 = 0.817) and citations (R2 = 0.768). Conclusions: The h-index of academic surgeons correlates with academic rank and serves a potential tool to measure academic productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Academic rank
  • General surgery
  • H-index
  • Promotion
  • Surgical specialty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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