To determine the percentage of publication misrepresentation among applicants to an ophthalmology residency, to compare that percentage with published percentages from other specialties, and to compare the number of US-trained applicants vs non–US-trained applicants found to misrepresent published articles.
Published articles in peer-reviewed journals listed on residency applications to the Jones Eye Institute from October 10, 2000, to December 1, 2004, were searched, excluding applications that were unavailable or were from current residents and faculty. The type of misrepresentation of published articles and the country of medical school training were recorded. Compared were US-trained applicants vs non–US-trained applicants to determine which group was more likely to list published articles and which group was more likely to have a misrepresented published article.
Eight hundred twenty-one of 852 applications (96.4%) were reviewed. Five hundred fifty applicants (67.0%) were from US medical schools, and 271 applicants (33.0%) were from non-US medical schools. Two hundred one applicants (24.5%) listed peer-reviewed published articles. Misrepresentation of published articles was found in 15 applicants (5 US trained and 10 non-US trained). The mean percentage of applicants with misrepresentation per applicant pool was 1.9%, while the mean percentage per applicants listing published articles was 8.1%. The most common misrepresentation found was self-promotion on the author list (50.0%), followed by omission of other authors (25.0%), nonexistent articles (12.5%), and nonauthorship (12.5%). Foreign medical graduates were more likely to list published articles (P = .008) and to have a misrepresented published article (P = .01).
Ophthalmology has one of the lowest reported percentages of applicant publication misrepresentation in the literature. Foreign medical graduates were more likely to list published articles and to misrepresent published articles. Self-promotion on the author list was the most common type of misrepresentation found. Residency program directors should request copies of published articles from interviewing applicants.