Academic dermatologists in Australia and New Zealand provide high-quality and meaningful contributions to the understanding of disease and therapeutic translational research. Concerns have been raised by the Australian Medical Association regarding the decline of clinical academics in Australia as a whole, however, such trends in scholarly output have not previously been analysed for Australasian dermatologists.
A bibliometric analysis of dermatologists in Australia and New Zealand was conducted in January and February 2023. Available Scopus profiles for all dermatologists were used to measure lifetime H index, scholarly output, citation counts and field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) in the last 5 years (2017-2022). Trends in output over time were measured using non-parametric tests. Differences in output between subgroups stratified by gender and academic leadership positions (associate professor or professor) were measured using Wilcoxon rank-sum and one-way ANOVA tests. The scholarly output of recent College graduates was also analysed as a subgroup, comparing the same bibliographic variables in the 5 years preceding and 5 years following awarding of their fellowships.
From the 463 practising dermatologists in Australia and New Zealand, 372 (80%) were successfully matched to Scopus researcher profiles. Of these dermatologists, 167 were male (45%) and 205 (55%) were female, and 31 (8%) held academic leadership positions. Most dermatologists (67%) published at least one paper in the last 5 years. The median lifetime H index was 4, and between 2017 and 2022 median scholarly output was 3, the median citations were 14 and the median FWCI was 0.64. There was a non-significant trend towards fewer publications per year, however, citation count and FWCI decreased significantly. By subgroups, female dermatologists published significantly more papers between 2017 and 2022, and other bibliographic variables were comparable to male dermatologists. However, women were underrepresented in positions of academic leadership-comprising only 32% of this cohort despite representing 55% of dermatologists. Professors were also significantly more likely to have higher bibliographic outcomes than associate professors. Finally, analysis of recent College graduates highlighted a significant decline in bibliometric outcomes pre- and post-fellowship.
Overall, our analysis identifies a trend towards decreased research output by dermatologists in Australia and New Zealand in the last 5 years. Strategies to support dermatologists in research endeavours, particularly women and recent graduates, will be essential in maintaining strong scholarly output among Australasian dermatologists and thereby sustaining optimal evidence-based patient care.
academic medicine; bibliometric analysis; dermatological research; scholarly output.