Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Trends in academic productivity in the COVID-19 era: analysis of neurosurgical, stroke neurology, and neurointerventional literature
  1. Jae Eun Lee1,
  2. Alina Mohanty1,
  3. Felipe C Albuquerque2,
  4. William T Couldwell3,
  5. Elad I Levy4,5,
  6. Edward C Benzel6,
  7. Ajay K Wakhloo7,
  8. Joshua A Hirsch8,
  9. David Fiorella9,10,
  10. Kyle M Fargen11,
  11. Jan-Karl Burkhardt1,12,
  12. Visish M Srinivasan1,
  13. Jeremiah Johnson1,
  14. Maxim Mokin13,
  15. Peter Kan14
  1. 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  3. 3 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  4. 4 Neurosurgery, Jacobs School of Medicine University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA
  5. 5 Neurosurgery, Gates Vascular Institute at Kaleida Health, Buffalo, New York, USA
  6. 6 Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  7. 7 Neurointerventional Radiology, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA
  8. 8 NeuroEndovascular Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  9. 9 Department of Neurosurgery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  10. 10 Department of Radiology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA
  11. 11 Neurological Surgery and Radiology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
  12. 12 Department of Neurosurgery, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA
  13. 13 Department of Neurosurgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA
  14. 14 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Kan, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA; ptkan{at}


Background Academic physicians aim to provide clinical and surgical care to their patients while actively contributing to a growing body of scientific literature. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in procedural-based specialties across the United States witnessing a sharp decline in their clinical volume and surgical cases.

Objective To assess the impact of COVID-19 on neurosurgical, stroke neurology, and neurointerventional academic productivity.

Methods The study compared the neurosurgical, stroke neurology, and neurointerventional academic output during the pandemic lockdown with the same time period in previous years. Editors from a sample of neurosurgical, stroke neurology, and neurointerventional journals provided the total number of original manuscript submissions, broken down by months, from the year 2016 to 2020. Manuscript submission was used as a surrogate metric for academic productivity.

Results 8 journals were represented. The aggregated data from all eight journals as a whole showed that a combined average increase of 42.3% was observed on original submissions for 2020. As the average yearly percent increase using the 2016–2019 data for each journal exhibited a combined average increase of 11.2%, the rise in the yearly increase for 2020 in comparison was nearly fourfold. For the same journals in the same time period, the average percent of COVID-19 related publications from January to June of 2020 was 6.87%.

Conclusion There was a momentous increase in the number of original submissions for the year 2020, and its effects were uniformly experienced across all of our represented journals.

  • brain
  • stroke
  • statistics

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @JoshuaAHirsch

  • Contributors Conception and design: PK, JEL, AM; acquisition of data, interpretation, and analysis: all authors; editing and approval of manuscript: all authors; study supervision: PK.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The authors confirm that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article and/or its supplementary materials.