Pre-Residency Peer-Reviewed Publications are Associated with Neurosurgery Resident Choice of Academic Versus Private Practice Career


Shearwood McClelland III M.D.


Department of Neurological Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA




Factors predictive of neurosurgery resident/applicant choice of an academic versus private practice career are highly desired and difficult to discern.  Previous literature has demonstrated that neither college choice, collegiate grade point average, medical school choice, medical school class rank, Alpha Omega Alpha induction, age nor gender are predictive of academic versus private practice career choice among neurosurgery residents.  This study was performed to examine the role of pre-residency peer-reviewed publications (PRP) in post-residency career choice.



422 graduates from 79 ACGME-accredited neurosurgery residency programs over a five-year period (2001-2005) were retrospectively examined to determine the number of PRP prior to onset of residency.  Publication number was determined using PubMed (, tabulated until the end of the calendar year prior to the start of residency.  This number was then correlated with the choice of an academic or private practice neurosurgery career.



A minority of graduates (46.2%) chose academic neurosurgery careers.  32.2% of graduates had at least one PRP at the time of application to neurosurgery residency, with 16.4% having more than one.  41.6% of graduates with no PRP chose academic careers, compared to 53.7% with one PRP, and 58.0% with more than one.  With regard to choice of academic career, the difference between no PRP and at least one were statistically significant (p<0.01), but not between one PRP and more than one.  Graduates with at least one PRP were 1.34 times more likely to choose an academic career than graduates with no PRP.



Peer-reviewed publications prior to residency are strongly associated with resident choice of an academic over private practice neurosurgery career.  This information may be useful in predicting the career choices of neurosurgery residents and residency applicants.



Neurosurgery Residency Graduates, Pre-Residency Peer-Reviewed Publications, Academic Neurosurgery, Private Practice Neurosurgery



1.    Understand the dearth of factors predictive of neurosurgery resident graduate choice of academic versus private practice.

2.    Know the proportion of recent graduates choosing academic versus private practice based on a large sample of the total neurosurgery residency graduate pool.

3.    Be familiar with the association between pre-residency peer-reviewed publications and post-residency neurosurgery career choice.



1.    Lawton MT, Narvid J, Quinones-Hinojosa A. Predictors of academic career choice among neurosurgery residents and residency applicants. Neurosurgery 60(5):934-939, 2007.

2.    Cohen-Gadol AA, Koch CA, Raffel C, Spinner RJ. Confirmation of research publications reported by neurological surgery residency applicants. Surg Neurol. 60(4):280-284, 2003.