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Brief Report
June 16, 2021

Trends of Research Output of Allopathic Medical Students Matching Into Dermatology, 2007-2018

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 3Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 4Department of Dermatology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio
JAMA Dermatol. 2021;157(8):983-987. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.2000
Key Points

Question  How does the number of indexed publications of matched dermatology residency applicants compare with the self-reported research numbers published by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)?

Findings  Between 2007 and 2018, the mean number of indexed publications per matched applicant rose from 1.6 to 4.7, while the NRMP mean number of research items rose from 5.7 to 14.7.

Meaning  Indexed publications compose a minority of self-reported NRMP research items; the percentage of research items attributed to indexed publications has remained consistent from 2007 to 2018.


Importance  According to the National Residency Matching Program’s biennial Charting Outcomes in the Match (NRMP ChOM) reports, the mean number of research items of matched allopathic dermatology applicants has nearly tripled since 2007, rising from 5.7 to 14.7. Research items are self-reported by applicants and serve as an approximation of research output. Because the NRMP research items field is unverified and reported as an aggregate of several different research pursuits, it may not be an accurate representation of applicant research output.

Objective  To determine if the rise in NRMP-reported data is associated with a rise in verifiable, indexed publications from matched allopathic dermatology applicants from 2007 to 2018.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional study including a bibliometric analysis on accepted applicant research output among 2234 matched allopathic dermatology applicants, with a total of 6229 publications, in dermatology residency programs for the years 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018.

Main Outcome and Measures  The primary outcomes were the mean number of peer-reviewed indexed publications and mean number of NRMP ChOM research items. Secondary outcomes assessed the quality of indexed publications by analyzing article type and journal of publication.

Results  From 2007 to 2018, the mean number of indexed publications per matched dermatology applicant increased from 1.6 to 4.7 (203% increase). Indexed publications consistently compose a minority of NRMP ChOM research items (28.8% across the 6 years of the study). Nonindexed research items increased at more than double the rate of indexed publications. Bibliometric analysis showed that all other types of publications are increasing at a rate of 6 to 9 times that of basic science publications, dermatology-related publications increased at 5 times the rate of non-dermatology publications, and publications in lower–impact factor dermatology journals increased at 4 times the rate of publications in higher–impact factor dermatology journals.

Conclusions and Relevance  This cross-sectional study provides data on the research output of matched dermatology applicants. Indexed publications compose a minority of NRMP research items. Medical student self-reports of research output may emphasize research quantity over quality.

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