Industry Funding Is Correlated With Publication Productivity of US Academic Radiation Oncologists

Nicholas G. Zaorsky, Awad A. Ahmed, Junjia Zhu, Stella K. Yoo, Clifton D. Fuller, Charles R. Thomas, Mehee Choi, Emma B. Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Industry payments to physicians are financial conflicts of interest and may influence research findings and medical decisions. We aim to (1) characterize industry payments within radiation oncology; and (2) explore the potential correlation between receiving disclosed industry payments and academic productivity. Materials/Methods: CMS database was used to extract 2015 industry payments. For academic radiation oncologists, research productivity was characterized by h- and m-indices, as well as receipt of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, which is not an industry payment. Logistic regression models were used to determine whether publication metrics (m-index, h-index) and other study characteristics such as gender, PhD status, NIH institution funding status, were associated with the endpoints, research and general payments. Associations between the amount of payments (if any) and publication metrics were further studied using linear regression models. Results: A total of 22,543 individual payments totaling $25,532,482 to 2,995 radiation oncologists were included. Among the 1,189 academic radiation oncologists, 75% received less than $167; on the other hand, 10 (<1%) individuals received $6,425,728 (51%) of payments. On multiple logistic regression, research payments were significantly associated with the m-index, odds ratio 2.86 (95% confidence interval, 1.84-4.45, p-value <0.0001); as well as with the h-index, odds ratio 1.03 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.05, p-value <0.0001). The linear regression model shows that both m-index and h-index were significantly positively associated with the amount of general payments (p-values <0.0001). Conclusion: There is an association between disclosed payment from the industry and increased individual research productivity metrics. Further research to find the cause behind this association is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-251
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Conflict of interest
  • disclosure
  • industry
  • radiation oncology
  • research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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