What are the gender differences in academic productivity between otolaryngologists in early, mid-, and later career stages and within various subspecialties?
Bottom Line: This study suggests that female otolaryngologists within certain subspecialties are keeping pace with their male counterparts in publication productivity in the early career time frame.
Background: The proportion of women specializing in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery (Oto–HNS) and seeking fellowship training has steadily increased over the last several years. The Association of American Medical Colleges recently found that women comprise a larger percentage of otolaryngology residents. However, multifactorial gender disparities historically have limited the visibility of women leaders in academic medicine. This study sought to quantify these differences in terms of citation numbers for articles written.
Study design: Data review of 1,754 academic otolaryngologists (412 women, 1,342 men).
Setting: Fellowship and Residency Interactive Database of the American Medical Association (FREIDA).
Synopsis: Overall, men had significantly higher h-indices (the number of articles with a citation number ≥ h, for which h is the number of publications for an author) and e-indices (all publications having at least a certain number of citations, used as a complement to the h-index), and had a significantly greater number of citations, documents, and coauthors. Men had significantly greater citation numbers per document than women in pediatrics and head and neck; plastics, rhinology, and head and neck had no significant citation number differences; and rhinology showed no significant coauthor number differences. Comprehensive otolaryngology had no significant differences except for number of documents. The early career group showed no significant differences for any parameters. In head and neck, laryngology, and pediatrics, men significantly outperformed women in all areas except for citation numbers and citations per document. For the later career group, only rhinology showed significant differences between men and women in h-index, coauthor numbers, and e-index; women outperformed men in comprehensive otolaryngology and plastics. Citation numbers did not significantly differ, and coauthor numbers did not differ, at the associate and professor ranks. Women had a significantly greater number of citations per document at the professor level. Limitations included a lack of comparative analyses of research output between subspecialties and of factors important to the promotion process.
Citation: Okafor S, Tibbetts K, Shah G, et al. Is the gender gap closing in otolaryngology subspecialties? An analysis of research productivity. Laryngoscope. 2020;130:1144-1150.