Has the scholarly impact of the Triological Society (TRIO) thesis diminished over time?
Background: Fellowship in the TRIO is conferred after a committee of senior society fellows approves a basic or clinical science thesis. Presently, thesis standards are similar to requirements for publication in the society’s journal, the Laryngoscope. Certain theses are recognized for excellence with the Fowler Awards (FA), Mosher (MA) Awards, Honorable Mention for Basic Science (HMBS) and Honorable Mention for Clinical Science (HMCS). The number of citations a published article attains can be a direct measure of the recognition the work has received in its field.
Explore this issue:November 2013
Study design: Retrospective analysis of awards and theses compiled by the TRIO from 1998 to 2011.
Synopsis: Of the 307 TRIO theses examined, publication of 275 was confirmed. The total number of accepted theses in the time studied increased from 11 to 30 per year, while the average h-index (which measures the impact of the paper) decreased from 22.1 to 14.6. The MA was given to 15 theses, the FA to 16, the HMBS to 15, and the HMCS to 21. There was no statistical significance in h-index or citation number per publication when comparing theses with awards with those without awards. While the number of accepted theses steadily increased over time, the number of awards remained relatively stable. The authors note that, unfortunately, the time interval for the data available is too short. The authors did not observe the impact of the TRIO thesis diminishing, with objective measures such as citations and h-index staying relatively constant. Award recognition predicting the future impact of thesis or author on the scientific community is increasingly difficult to ascertain.
Bottom line: Thesis submission has steadily increased, creating increased difficulty in predicting theses with the greatest potential for academic impact. But the excellence level is uniform, and thesis submission remains influential and prestigious.
Citation: Badran KW, Lahham S, Mahboubi H, Crumley RL, Wong BJ. The academic impact of the Triological Society theses—Mosher and Fowler awards: citations, impact factor, and h-index. Laryngoscope. 2013;123:2654-2657.
—Reviewed by Amy Eckner