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Letters to the Editor  |   April 2013
Response
Author Affiliations
  • Richard R. Suminski, PhD, MPH
    Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Missouri
  • Jason A. Wasserman, PhD
    Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Missouri
  • V. James Guillory, DO, MPH
    A.T. Still University, Kirksville, Missouri
  • Dean Hendrix, MLIS
    Health Sciences Library, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Linda E. May, PhD
    Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Missouri
Article Information
Medical Education
Letters to the Editor   |   April 2013
Response
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2013, Vol. 113, 266-268. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.113.4.266
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, April 2013, Vol. 113, 266-268. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.113.4.266
Dr Gugliucci's comments1 regarding our November 2012 article2 offer some important considerations for how funding to colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) is framed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and we encourage him to undertake a related study to supplement our study. 
Our investigation2 specifically examined funding provided to COMs as indicated by the NIH. In the NIH funding database, we selected search criteria that limited funding for a particular year to COMs. On the NIH RePORTER search page (http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm), we selected “Schools of Osteopathy” under the category “Educational Institution Type.” This search function provided us information on research grants awarded to COMs in fiscal year 2010, which was the exact intent of our study. 
If one uses the search methods of Dr Gugliucci, one can retrieve grants awarded to specific universities such as Touro University California. The detailed information from the NIH about these particular grants, however, does not mention anything about the grant being awarded to a COM. Rather, the institution types for Touro University California are School of Medicine (3 instances) and School of Pharmacy (1 instance). Another example is Nova Southeastern University. In 2010, Nova Southeastern University received 16 NIH research awards, of which 4 were designated by the NIH as being made to the university's COM. The other 12 went to the School of Allied Health Professions, School of Dentistry/Oral Hygiene, School of Pharmacy, and “University-Wide.” We included the 4 NIH research awards as per our methodological approach. Therefore, we stand behind our findings and do not believe it would have been appropriate to include all NIH awards made to a university that has a COM. We do believe the data brought to light by Dr Gugliucci are relevant and may indicate a potential limitation in the way the NIH categorizes funding opportunities or even blatant errors (either reporting to the NIH by the university or by the NIH itself) with the obvious downside being less favorable profiles of research activity at COMs. In addition, the data presented by Dr Gugliucci should be considered in discussions of funding to COMs. For instance, it would be interesting to explore how NIH funding to a COM relates to NIH funding provided to other schools at the same institute. 
Similarly, the Web of Science database does not capture all bibliometric information and does have limitations, which we discussed in the article. In fact, there are several lines of thought about the overall utility of using bibliometric data. Nevertheless, the article does provide some data on bibliometrics at COMs and, more important, discusses whether bibliometric factors had any independent predictive value for NIH funding acquisition when holding prior NIH funding constant. More simply, we addressed the question about whether COMs without substantial levels of previous NIH funding could publish their way into NIH funding. The parameters we used for both funding and bibliometric data give effective scores for these measures, with a reasonable degree of validity, that highlight this central finding of the article. More importantly, that publications had some independent predictive value for funding is informative for COMs, particularly those without a significant funding history, as they strategically plan their investments in research. 
While all studies have limitations, we believe our search parameters were appropriate, were systematic, and yielded measures that answered the core question set forth in our study2 with sufficient validity. We believe, however, that Dr Gugliucci's findings could form the basis of an interesting extension of our study and improve our understanding of research funding and the ability to obtain research funding at COMs. 
References
Gugliucci A. Bibliometric measures and National Institutes of Health funding at COMs, 2006-2010 [letter]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013;113(4):266-267. [PubMed]
Suminski RR, Hendrix D, May LE, Wasserman JA, Guillory VJ. Bibliometric measures and National Institutes of Health funding at colleges of osteopathic medicine, 2006-2010. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012;112(11):716-724. [PubMed]