Study: Industry Funding Leads to Higher Scholarly Impact; Women Less Likely to Get Funding

James Liu smCouldwell1A new study in the journal World Neurosurgery, co-authored by two members of the PNA, Dr. James K. Liu and Dr. William Couldwell, shows that industry funding greatly increases the scholarly impact of published work, and they found that women were less likely than males to get funding, and if funded, the amounts are likely to be smaller.

 World Neurosurg. 2017 Apr 1. pii: S1878-8750(17)30433-3. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.03.110. [Epub ahead of print]
Is industry funding associated with higher scholarly impact among academic neurosurgeons?
Eloy JA1, Kilic S2, Yoo NJ2, Mcleod T3, Svider PF3, Baredes S4, Folbe AJ5, Couldwell WT6, Liu JK7.



To determine the relationship between industry payments and scholarly impact among academic neurosurgeons.


Faculty names and academic rank data were obtained from department websites, bibliometric data were obtained from the Scopus database, and industry payment data were obtained from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services open payments database ( H-index was used to estimate scholarly impact. Payments were classified as "general", "associated research", and "research payments." Subgroup analyses were done for academic rank, fellowship training, and gender.


Among 1008 academic neurosurgeons, scholarly impact was higher among individuals receiving associated research industry support when compared with those not receiving it. Scholarly impact was also higher among individuals who received over $10,000 of any type of industry support when compared to individuals who received less than that or no payment. This association was also seen in fellowship-trained surgeons. Females were less likely than males to get industry funding, and were likely to get a less funding.


Funding from industry plays an important role in neurosurgical research. There is a strong association between associated research funding from industry, and scholarly impact among academic neurosurgeons. It's unclear if this association is a result of funding facilitating more research projects that eventually lead to more high-impact publications, if industry is providing more funding to academic neurosurgeons with higher scholarly impact, or represents intrinsic academic activity among a group of neurosurgeons who are more likely to be academically productive and procure funding from all potential sources to increase this activity.


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