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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Nov;144(5):1003-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.07.033. Epub 2012 Aug 25.

Research incentive program for clinical surgical faculty associated with increases in research productivity.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.



To develop a research productivity scoring program within an academic department of surgery that would help realign incentives to encourage and reward research. Although research is highly valued in the academic mission, financial incentives are generally aligned to reward clinical productivity.


A formula assigning points for publications and extramural grants was created and used to award a research incentive payment proportional to the research productivity score, beginning July 2007. Publication points reflect journal impact factor, author role, and manuscript type. Grant points reflect total funding and percentage of effort. Publication data were gathered from Web of Science/PubMed/Medline and grants data from the departmental grants office. An annual award is presented to the person with the greatest improvement. The research productivity score data after July 2007 were compared with control data for the 2 preceding years. A 33-question survey to 28 clinical faculty was conducted after the first year to measure satisfaction and solicit constructive feedback.


The mean annual point scores increased from the preresearch productivity score to the postresearch productivity score academic years (2180 vs 3389, respectively, P = .08), with a significant change in the grant component score (272 vs 801, P = .03). Since research productivity score implementation, the operative case volumes increased 4.3% from 2006 to 2011. With a response rate of 89%, the survey indicated that 76% of the faculty wished to devote more time to research and 52% believed 1 or more research-related behaviors would change because of the research productivity score program.


An objective, transparent research incentive program, through both monetary incentives and recognition, can stimulate productivity and was well-received by faculty.

Copyright © 2012 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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