Estimation of Citation-Based Scholarly Activity Among Radiation Oncology Faculty at Domestic Residency-Training Institutions: 1996-2007

Mehee Choi, Clifton D. Fuller, Charles R. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Purpose: Advancement in academic radiation oncology is largely contingent on research productivity and the perceived external influence of an individual's scholarly work. The purpose of this study was to use the Hirsch index (h-index) to estimate the research productivity of current radiation oncology faculty at U.S. academic institutions between 1996 and 2007. Methods and Materials: We performed bibliometric citation database searches for available radiation oncology faculty at domestic residency-training institutions (n = 826). The outcomes analyzed included the total number of manuscripts, total number of citations, and the h-index between 1996 and 2007. Analysis of overall h-index rankings with stratification by academic ranking, junior vs. senior faculty status, and gender was performed. Results: Of the 826 radiation oncologists, the mean h-index was 8.5. Of the individuals in the top 10% by the h-index, 34% were chairpersons, 88% were senior faculty, and 13% were women. A greater h-index was associated with a higher academic ranking and senior faculty status. Recursive partitioning analysis revealed an h-index threshold of 15 (p <0.0001) as an identified breakpoint between the senior and junior faculty. Overall, women had lower h-indexes compared with men (mean, 6.4 vs. 9.4); however, when stratified by academic ranking, the gender differential all but disappeared. Conclusion: Using the h-index as a partial surrogate for research productivity, it appears that radiation oncologists in academia today comprise a prolific group, however, with a highly skewed distribution. According to the present analysis, the h-index correlated with academic ranking. Thus, it potentially has utility in the process of promotion decisions. Overall, women in radiation oncology were less academically productive than men; the possible reasons for the gender differential are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Academic productivity
  • Bibliometrics
  • Citations
  • H-index
  • Hirsch index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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