The Hirsch Index and Self-Citation in Academic Physiatry Among Graduate Medical Education Program Directors.
The Hirsch Index is a measure of academic productivity which captures both the quantity and quality of an author's output. A well-accepted bibliometric, the Hirsch Index still may be influenced by self-citation, which has been assessed in other medical and surgical specialties. This study aims to evaluate research output and self-citation in physiatry, establishing a benchmark for the field, in addition to identifying differences between physical medicine and rehabilitation subspecialties. This study identified physical medicine and rehabilitation residency and fellowship program directors and analyzed the number of publications, citations, self-citations, and h-indices. A total of 169 program directors were identified, and the mean number ± SD of publications, citations, and Hirsch Index for the cohort were 16.7 ± 29.5, 348 ± 753, and 5.7 ± 6.7, respectively. When self-citation was excluded, less than 2% of program directors (3 of 169) had changes in Hirsch Index greater than one integer, and none greater than two integers. The Hirsch Index remained unchanged for 90% (152 of 169). Spinal cord injury fellowship directors had significantly higher mean number of publications (28, P = 0.04), mean number of citations (672, P = 0.03), and Hirsch Index (9.2, P < 0.01; 95% confidence interval). Overall, self-citation is infrequent in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and spinal cord injury directors had more robust academic profiles.