Bibliometrics are the methods used to quantitatively analyze scientific literature. In this study, bibliometrics were used to quantify the scientific output of neurosurgical departments throughout Great Britain and Ireland.
A list of neurosurgical departments was obtained from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons website. Individual departments were contacted for an up-to-date list of consultant (attending) neurosurgeons practicing in these departments. Scopus was used to determine the h-index and m-quotient for each neurosurgeon. Indices were measured by surgeon and by departmental mean and total. Additional information was collected about the surgeon's sex, title, listed superspecialties, higher research degrees, and year of medical qualification.
Data were analyzed for 315 neurosurgeons (25 female). The median h-index and m-quotient were 6.00 and 0.41, respectively. These were significantly higher for professors (h-index 21.50; m-quotient 0.71) and for those with an additional MD or PhD (11.0; 0.57). There was no significant difference in h-index, m-quotient, or higher research degrees between the sexes. However, none of the 16 British neurosurgery professors were female. Neurosurgeons who specialized in functional/epilepsy surgery ranked highest in terms of publication productivity. The 5 top-scoring departments were those in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge; St. George's Hospital, London; Great Ormond Street Hospital, London; National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London; and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
The h-index is a useful bibliometric marker, particularly when comparing between studies and individuals. The m-quotient reduces bias toward established researchers. British academic neurosurgeons face considerable challenges, and women remain underrepresented in both clinical and academic neurosurgery in Britain and Ireland.