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The Creation of a Comprehensive Measure of Academic Achievement: Part I
Ilana G. Margulies MS, Hanzhou Li BA, Kaitlyn Paine MD, Peter J. Taub MD, MS Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA

Background: While the advent of the h-index has allowed for a quantitative measure of one’s publications and citations, there is no comprehensive measure of academic productivity that takes into account the other notable achievements of an academic physician. Such variables include academic rank, journal editorship, society involvement, among others. Thus, as the first step in creating a novel and comprehensive measure of academic achievement, we sought to investigate the perceived importance of different accomplishments of an academic physician by surveying physicians nationwide and at our own institution.

Methods: The link to an online cross-sectional survey ( was distributed to plastic surgeons of different academic levels nationwide and faculty members at our institution from 2016 through 2018. After select demographic questions, respondents were presented with random, unique, binary comparisons of 42 different achievements of an academic physician (Table 1), and were asked to choose the more important achievement. Respondents were able to complete as many comparisons as they desired until reaching the maximum 1,722. Descriptive statistics of demographics and win rates of each achievement (number of times a variable won / number of times the variable appeared) were reported.

Results: Respondents consisted of 127 unique users comprised of 10 department chairs, 97 senior attendings, and 20 junior attendings. 48% of respondents were plastic surgeons, 57% were fellowship trained, and 75% practiced exclusively in an academic setting. Respondents completed an average of 116 (SD=97.6) comparisons each, generating a total of 14,736 ranked comparisons. Win rates for the 42 variables ranged from 0.9 to 0.1, with the highest win rates attained by dean of a medical school (0.90) and editor of a medical journal (0.88), and the lowest win rates attained by industry spokesperson (0.1) and member of a local medical society (0.1) (Table 1).

Conclusion: The survey responses of 127 physicians were used to order 42 different academic achievements by perceived importance using a unique survey methodology that did not require respondents to rank all 42 items. This ranked comparison data will be used to create a novel and comprehensive measure of academic achievement with a variety of potential applications.

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