One of the drivers of the proliferation of journals, both online and print, is the requirement of most Residency Review Committees that faculty of residency training programs must engage in research. This rule is not “evidenced-based,” as there is no proof that a surgeon has to do research in order to be a good teacher or role model. Sometimes the opposite is true; the researcher can’t teach at all.
Residents choose to train at community hospitals because they do not want to participate in research. [Anecdotally, I think many residents at university hospitals would rather not do research too.] As is the case with faculty, there is no proof that forcing a resident to do research will result in important discoveries or make her a better surgeon.
Look at this language from the RRC forSurgery.
Some members of the faculty should also demonstrate scholarship by one or more of the following:
II.B.5.b).(1) peer-reviewed funding;
II.B.5.b).(2) publication of original research or review articles in peer-reviewed journals, or chapters in textbooks;
II.B.5.b).(3) publication or presentation of case reports or clinical series at local, regional, or national professional and scientific society meetings
Since I dropped out of the business of training residents, I have been actively blogging and not cranking out mindless publishable research. Here is an interesting fact. I have no doubt that far more people have read what I have written in my blog for a year and a half than ever read all of my 95 published works combined.
For example, I wrote a blog entitled “Statistical vs. Clinical Significance: They Are Not the Same” in August of 2011. To date, it has been viewed 4466 times. I would guess that one post alone has been read by more people than ever have read my combined published papers. I have 1070 followers on Twitter. Again, it is likely that more people have read what I tweet than ever read my scholarly works.
So what’s the point? Although I have written that individuals who participate actively in social media like Twitter have very little influence when one looks at the big picture, the same can be said of publishing a journal article. Who really reads the 25 or so critical care journals that are currently being published online and in print? [See my blog about this.]
Did I have more influence with my published writings or do I have more influence now with my blogging and tweeting? What do you think?
PS: Just like a journal article, I have cited myself three times.