Multi-investigator collaboration in orthopaedic surgery research compared to other medical fields

Robert H. Brophy, Matthew V. Smith, Christian Latterman, Morgan H. Jones, Emily K. Reinke, David C. Flanigan, Rick W. Wright, Brian R. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An increasing emphasis has been placed across health care on evidence-based medicine with higher level studies, such as randomized trials and prospective cohort studies. Historically, clinical research in orthopaedic surgery has been dominated by studies with low patient numbers from a limited number of surgeons. The purpose of this study was to test our hypothesis that orthopaedics has fewer multi-center collaborative studies as compared to other medical disciplines. We chose three leading journals from general medicine, a leading journal from the surgical subspecialties of obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology and otolaryngology, and three leading journals from orthopaedic surgery based on highest impact factor. We compared the percentage of collaborative studies and the number of contributing institutions and authors in original research manuscripts published in 2009 between general medical, surgical subspecialty and orthopaedic surgery journals. A significantly higher percentage of manuscripts resulted from multicenter collaborative efforts in the general medical literature (p < 0.000001) and the other surgical subspecialty literature (p < 0.000001) compared to the orthopaedic surgery literature. Manuscripts published in the general medical journals came from more institutions (p < 0.0001) and had significantly more authors (p < 0.000001) than those published in the orthopaedic surgery journals. There is an opportunity to stimulate greater multicenter collaborative research, which correlates with increased patient numbers, a higher level of evidence and more generalizable findings, in the orthopaedic surgery community. These efforts can be supported through increased funding, surgeon participation, and appropriate expansion of authorship for multicenter studies in orthopaedic journals. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1528
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • collaborative research
  • evidence-based medicine
  • multicenter studies


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