Concern has been expressed about a possible decrease in publication productivity of family medicine faculty. This study measured trends in publication productivity by family medicine faculty from 1989 to 1999 and determined the journals in which these individuals published their work.
A sample of Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) members was identified from the STFM membership roster The sample included 900 members from 1980, 1,801 members from 1994, and 1,524 members from 1999. A MEDLINE search was performed to determine how many articles each individual published during those years and in what journals the articles were published. An estimate was made of the total publication productivity of all STFM members.
The percentage of STFM members publishing at least one article in 1989, 1994, and 1999 was 16%, 16.3%, and 8.5%, respectively. The estimated total number of publications by all STFM members in all journals was 729 in 1989,1,040 in 1994, and 669 in 1999. The journals in which STFM members most frequently published were the Journal of Family Practice, Family Medicine, and Academic Medicine; 32% of all publications appeared in those three journals. The number of publications in high-profile interdisciplinary journals was very small.
Based on a MEDLINE search of a large sample of STFM members' publication records, it appears that the publication productivity of the STFM membership is decreasing.