Bibliometric analysis of research areas, publication hierarchy and gender authorship in German academic orthopedic surgery

This article was originally published here

Z Orthop Unfall. 2022 Mar 10. doi:10.1055/a-1735-4110. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The aim of the present bibliometric study was to record the subject of publications, the type of study and the publication activities according to the hierarchical level and gender of authors from German university departments of orthopedic surgery.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The publication performance of staff surgeons, consisting of chief and chief physicians, section and division heads of 39 German university departments of orthopedic surgery teaching hospitals, was recorded over a period of 10 years (from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2019). All publications listed in PubMed with staff surgeons as first or last authors were considered. In addition, the impact factor (IF) and the h-index were determined.

RESULTS: 1739 (39.2%) publications were compiled by 180 staff surgeons from the academic departments of trauma surgery and 2699 (60.8%) publications by 343 surgeons from the departments of orthopedics and trauma surgery. Most of the publications concerned injuries or impairments of the lower limb, including the hip (n = 1626; 38.1%), followed by the upper limb (n = 737; 17.3%). These publications related to diagnostic tests (25.5%), surgical techniques (19.1%) or special osteosynthesis (16.9%). The highest average FI per publication was reached by publications on plastics (FI 2.02), on results (FI 1.96) and on diagnostic tests (FI 1.93). Department heads were first authors in 18.8%, senior physicians with management functions in 40.7% and senior physicians without management functions in 69% of articles and last authors in 81.2%, 49.3% and 31.0% of articles, respectively. 64 of the 523 staff surgeons (12.2%) were women. 306 authors (6.1%) were women, which corresponds to 4.8 paternities per female surgeon – significantly for male surgeons (10.3 paternities per male surgeon).

CONCLUSION: In the present study, among senior physicians in a leadership role, the share of publishing surgeons was 59.1% for women, but 85.5% for men. On the other hand, in the group of senior physicians without a management function, female and male surgeons were almost equally represented (57.5% against 60.5%). It is therefore necessary to ask whether the balance between work and private life is more difficult to achieve for women than for men with longer careers. Mentoring programs are needed to support the publishing activities of the growing number of female candidates in the future.

PMID:35272383 | DOI:10.1055/a-1735-4110

Jacob L. Thornton