The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and predictors of nonverifiable research publications among applicants to a trauma and surgical critical care fellowship program. All complete applications submitted to our trauma and surgical critical care fellowship program were prospectively collected for 4 application cycles (2009 to 2012). All publications listed by applicants were tabulated and underwent verification using MEDLINE and direct journal search with verification by a team of professional health sciences librarians. Demographics and academic criteria were compared between applicants with nonverifiable and verifiable publications. A total of 100 applicants reported 301 publications. Of those, 20 applicants (20%) listed 32 papers (11%) that could not be verified. These applicants comprised 30% of those with 1 or more peer-reviewed publications. There were no significant differences in sex (male, 55% nonverifiable vs 60% verifiable, p = 0.684) or age (34.3 ± 6.6 years vs 34.2 ± 5.0 years, p = 0.963). There were no differences with regard to citizenship status (foreign medical graduates, 20% nonverifiable vs 28% verifiable, p = 0.495). Applicants with nonverified publications were less likely to be in the military (0% vs 14%, p = 0.079), more likely to have presented their work at surgical meetings (80% vs 58%, p = 0.064), and to be individuals with 3 or more peer-reviewed publications (55% vs 25%, p = 0.009). In this analysis of academic integrity, one-fifth of all applicants applying to a trauma and surgical critical care fellowship program and 30% of those with 1 or more peer-reviewed publications had nonverifiable publications listed in their curricula vitae. These applicants were less likely to be in the military, more likely to have presented their work at surgical meetings and to have 3 or more peer-reviewed publications.
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