Bibliometric Evaluation of U.S. Neurosurgery Subspecialties and Academic Rank Using RCR Index

Zerubabbel K. Asfaw, Roshini Kalagara, Adam Y. Li, Theodore C. Hannah, Alexander J. Schupper, Lily McCarthy, Eugene I. Hrabarchuk, Addison Quinones, John R. Durbin, Peter F. Morgenstern, Tanvir F. Choudhri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Academic productivity, a key feature of academic neurosurgery, has been linked to academic rank, subspecialty, and institutional rank. Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) has emerged as a new metric of scholarly output that can make field-normalized comparisons between researchers, a feature unavailable in prior metrics such as h-index. Here we evaluate the influence of academic rank and neurosurgical subspecialties on RCR scores. Methods: We identified 1640 academic neurosurgeons from 115 ACGME-accredited programs in the United States, along with their neurosurgical specialty and demographic information, using publicly available data. Mean RCR (m-RCR) and weighted RCR (w-RCR) for each neurosurgeon were queried from the iCite database, which included publications from 2002–2020. m-RCR and w-RCR scores were compared across subspecialties and academic rank using multivariable regression while controlling for demographic factors. Results: Multivariable analysis indicated that academic neurosurgeons in general neurosurgery (P = 0.039) and pediatric neurosurgery (P = 0.003) had lower m-RCR scores than their peers in other subspecialties. w-RCR did not differ significantly among subspecialties. Higher academic rank was associated with increased m-RCR (P < 0.05) and w-RCR scores (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Professors have a higher m-RCR score relative to assistant professors, while general and pediatric neurosurgery were linked to lower m-RCR values. Although neurosurgical subspecialty choice did not influence w-RCR, a higher w-RCR score corresponded to a higher academic rank. Overall, the RCR metric can be utilized for field-normalized comparisons of faculty who differ in academic rank and subspecialty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e138-e147
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Academic productivity
  • Academic rank
  • Bibliometrics
  • Neurosurgical subspecialties
  • RCR
  • Relative Citation Ratio


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