Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 15, Iss. 2, April, 2011, pp. 253-264
@2011 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences

 
 
 

Is Research Publication a Catastrophic Phenomenon Among Medical Faculty?

David Katerndahl, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Abstract: Studies seeking to predict publication rates among faculty have found contradictory results. The purpose of this study was to determine whether short- or long-term research publications among family medicine faculty were better accounted for using cusp catastrophe modeling (CCM) rather than linear modeling. This secondary analysis of annual research publications used data collected from family medicine faculty in a university department. To predict the number of research publications, two service variables -- national service and administrative responsibility -- were used. There were three bifurcation variables: Scholarly Activity, Professional Status, and ”proportion of studies asprincipal investigator”. Research publications at two and five years were modeled using CCM as well as two linear models. Based upon the amount of variance explained, while linear models accounted for more variance in publications at 5-year intervals, CCM was superior at explaining publications for all three bifurcation variables at 2-year intervals. Entering all of the bifurcation variables into the models found that CCM explained more of the 2-year publication variance with Scholarly Activity and national service as significant predictors. In conclusion, short-term career planning needs to consider its irregular cusp behavior and to minimize the possible impact of bifurcation factors.

Keywords: nonlinear dynamical systems, research, bibliometrics, catastrophe, cusp, productivity, creativity