Ten-Year Trends in Level of Evidence in Hand Surgery

Reid E. Tompkins*, Michael M. Polmear, Kyle J. Klahs, John P. Scanaliato, Leon J. Nesti, John C. Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purposes of this study were to analyze the trends in Oxford level of evidence (LOE), LOE of most-cited articles, and association between LOE and journal impact factor (IF) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) over a 10-year period (2009-2018) in 3 prominent hand surgery journals, specifically HAND, Journal of Hand Surgery (American Volume) (JHS), and Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume) (JHSE). Methods: All articles published from 2009 to 2018 in HAND, JHS, and JHSE were reviewed for assigned or available LOE. Data were pooled and analyzed for trends in LOE; relationship among IF, SJR, and LOE; and citation density. Results: A total of 3921 total publications were tabulated from 2009 to 2018, with the majority of studies being level V (1700, 43%) and fewer studies being level I (146, 4%). Over the 10-year study period, there was no significant change in frequency of level I studies for any journal. HAND trended significantly toward higher LOE, JHS trended toward higher LOE, and JHSE trended toward decreased LOE without significance. Among all journals, the annual number of articles and the average LOE were independent significant predictors of IF and SJR. Statistically significant correlations were found between citation density and LOE for JHS and HAND. Conclusions: Higher quality evidence is becoming more prevalent in the hand surgery literature over the past 10 years. Annual articles, average LOE, and level I and II and level IV articles were significant predictors of increasing IF and SJR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • SCImago Journal Rank
  • hand surgery
  • impact factor
  • level of evidence
  • top 10 most-cited


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