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Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

Authors' opinions on publication in relation to annual performance assessment

Robin L Walker1, Lindsay Sykes1, Brenda R Hemmelgarn12 and Hude Quan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

2 Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:21  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-21

Published: 9 March 2010

Abstract

Background

In the past 50 years there has been a substantial increase in the volume of published research and in the number of authors per scientific publication. There is also significant pressure exerted on researchers to produce publications. Thus, the purpose of this study was to survey corresponding authors in published medical journals to determine their opinion on publication impact in relation to performance review and promotion.

Methods

Cross-sectional survey of corresponding authors of original research articles published in June 2007 among 72 medical journals. Measurement outcomes included the number of publications, number of authors, authorship order and journal impact factor in relation to performance review and promotion.

Results

Of 687 surveys, 478 were analyzed (response rate 69.6%). Corresponding authors self-reported that number of publications (78.7%), journal impact factor (67.8%) and being the first author (75.9%) were most influential for their annual performance review and assessment. Only 17.6% of authors reported that the number of authors on a manuscript was important criteria for performance review and assessment. A higher percentage of Asian authors reported that the number of authors was key to performance review and promotion (41.4% versus 7.8 to 22.2%). compared to authors from other countries.

Conclusions

The number of publications, authorship order and journal impact factor were important factors for performance reviews and promotion at academic and non-academic institutes. The number of authors was not identified as important criteria. These factors may be contributing to the increase in the number of authors per publication.