Is the gender gap closing in otolaryngology subspecialties? An analysis of research productivity

Somtochi Okafor, Kathleen Tibbetts, Gopi Shah, Brittny Tillman, Ashley Agan, Ashleigh A. Halderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: The proportion of women specializing in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery (Oto–HNS) and seeking fellowship training has steadily increased over the last several years. In academic Oto–HNS, gender differences exist in research productivity, scholarly impact, and funding. This study aims to evaluate gender differences in academic productivity between otolaryngologists in early, mid-, and later careers stages and within various subspecialties. Methods: Departmental websites for all Oto–HNS residency programs were accessed, and data including gender, academic rank, and fellowship training/subspecialty field was collected. Bibliometric data including h-index, publication years, number of citations, documents, and coauthors was obtained from the Scopus database. Career groups were defined as early (1–5 years), mid- (6–15 years), and later (16+ years). Continuous data was compared using the t test. Results: Data was collected on 1,754 academic otolaryngologists (412 women, 1,342 men). Overall, men exhibited significantly higher h-indices, number of documents, citations, and coauthors and actively published for more years compared to women (P < 0.0001 for all variables). Similar trends persisted across all subspecialties. When authors were broken down into career groups, women and men showed similar research productivity across all career groups in the subspecialties of otology, facial plastics, and rhinology; however, in head and neck, laryngology, and pediatrics, women continued to lag behind men. Conclusion: This study suggests that female otolaryngologists within certain subspecialties are keeping pace with their male counterparts in publication productivity in the early career time frame. This represents a change from prior studies which have shown women to be less productive in the early career period. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 130:1144–1150, 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1150
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Gender
  • otolaryngology
  • publications
  • research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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