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J Am Coll Radiol. 2013 Mar;10(3):185-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2012.06.036. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Predictors of radiation oncology resident research productivity.

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Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



Academic research is an essential part of residency training, yet resident productivity in research seems to be highly variable. The aim of this study was to determine the factors, both individual and institutional, that contribute to research output among radiation oncology residents.


Newly practicing radiation oncologists and current senior residents were identified and invited via e-mail to complete a web-based survey. The survey addressed demographic factors, previous academic accomplishments, and residency program structure. The end point, research productivity, was defined as the number of first-author papers produced or research grants awarded on the basis of work initiated during residency.


Ninety-seven of the 232 senior residents and recently graduated radiation oncologists surveyed responded (a 42% response rate). The median number of publications produced on the basis of work during residency was 3 (range, 0-7). Twenty-one respondents indicated that they had received 1 or more grants. Forty-four respondents completed <6 months of research, while 53 completed ≥6 months of research. Univariate analysis revealed that a scientific college major and the amount of designated research time were positively correlated (P < .05) with first-author publications. Entering with a PhD, presenting research at an international meeting before residency, participation in the Holman Research Pathway, female gender, publications before residency, and the amount of designated research time were positively correlated (P < .05) with receiving a research grant. On multivariate regression analysis, the amount of designated research time was the sole determinant of first-author papers (P < .007), while participation in the Holman Pathway was the only surveyed factor that was correlated with research grants awarded (P < .001).


The amount of designated research time during residency training is the sole independent predictor of research productivity as measured by publications. Participation in the Holman Pathway is the sole detected item shown to be an independent predictor of achieving a peer-reviewed grant. Residency program structure has a major impact on the productivity of residents.

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