The UCLA department of neurosurgery ranks No. 2 in the nation in scholarly research, according to a recent paper evaluating the impact of published articles in the field.

The five-year review, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, rated the academic publishing output of faculty at 103 American neurosurgical residency programs from 2009 to 2013.  The top five programs were UC San Francisco, UCLA, the University of Pittsburgh, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins University. 

“I’d like to personally congratulate the exceptionally productive neurosurgery faculty at UCLA and UCSF,” said Dr. Neil Martin, the W. Eugene Stern Chair of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Our top ranking reflects the University of California’s leadership in academic research, which translates into cutting-edge medical care for our patients and the most advanced educational approach to training our surgical residents.”

UCLA
Dr. Neil Martin

The recently published review is one of the first to use bibliometrics — the statistical analysis of written publications — to calculate the objective impact of a particular academic paper.  It can be compared to sabermetrics, the statistical analysis of baseball players’ performance.

“This paper falls into a growing trend of measuring and rating various fields — something that’s been popular in sports for 15 or more years.  Now we’re starting to see metrics applied to academic study,” said Martin, who specializes in the research and treatment of neurovascular disorders, including arteriovenous malformation, aneurysm and stroke. 

“Evaluating the academic stature of neurosurgical programs is important for at least two reasons,” Martin said. “First, when assessed over time, the trend reveals whether you are gaining or losing ground, or simply maintaining your position. Second, it provides a measure of how well your program compares in relation to others.  These pieces of feedback are equally important to department heads and researchers as they are to prospective patients and medical residents.”

For more than 20 consecutive years, U.S. News and World Report has recognized UCLA Neurosurgery as one of the top neurosurgery programs in the nation. It is ranked No. 7 in the country and No. 1 in Southern California.