METHODS: The departmental websites for the three Australian chiropractic tertiary institutions were accessed and a list of academic faculty compiled. It was noted whether each academic held a chiropractic qualification or research doctoral (not professional) degree qualification. A review of the literature was conducted using the names of the academics and cross-referencing to publications listed independently in the PubMed and Index to Chiropractic Literature (ICL) databases (from inception to February 27 2006). Publications were excluded that were duplicates, corrected reprints, conference abstracts/proceedings, books, monographs, letters to the editor/comments or editorials. Using this information an annual and recent publication rate was constructed.
RESULTS: For the 41 academics there was a total of 155 PubMed listed publications (mean 3.8, annual rate per academic 0.31) and 415 ICL listed publications (mean 10.1, annual rate 0.62). Over the last five years there have been 50 PubMed listed publications (mean 1.2, annual rate 0.24) and 97 ICL listed publications (mean 2.4, annual rate 0.47). Chiropractor academics (n=31) had 29 PubMed listed publications (mean 2.5, annual rate 0.27) and 265 ICL listed publications (mean 8.5, annual rate 0.57). Academics with a doctoral degree (n=13) had 134 PubMed listed publications (mean 10.3, annual rate 0.70) and 311 ICL listed publications (mean 23.9, annual rate 1.44). Academics without a doctoral degree (n=28) had 21 PubMed listed publications (mean 0.8, annual rate 0.13) and 104 ICL listed publications (mean 3.7, annual rate 0.24).
CONCLUSIONS: While several academics have compiled an impressive list of publications, overall there is a significant paucity of published research authored by the majority of academics, with a trend for a falling recent publication rate and not having a doctoral degree being a risk factor for poor publication productivity. It is suggested that there is an urgent necessity to facilitate the acquisition of research skills in academic staff particularly in research methods and publication skills. Only when undergraduate students are exposed to an institutional environment conducive to and fostering research will concepts of evidence based healthcare really be appreciated and implemented by the profession.
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