Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 141–147 | Cite as

The changing tides of Irish orthopaedic research

  • Ailbhe White GibsonEmail author
  • Kevin Clesham
  • Oisin Tully
  • John F. Quinlan
Original Article



Research is fundamental to bridging theory, practice and education in orthopaedics. Following the restructuring of the surgical training pathway in Ireland, the opportunity to undertake clinical- or lab-based research has fallen.


Our aim was to investigate the trends of research in orthopaedics and the implications there.


We reviewed the trend in publications by Irish trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) trainees over the past 20 years across three different classes of journal. We also reviewed the Irish participation in the annual British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) meeting over the past 10 years as well as the rates of abstract submission to the annual Irish Orthopaedic Association (IOA) meeting.


We found that publication rates were as follows: JBJS 2005–2010 mean 4.8 vs. 2000–2005 mean 1.6 and 2010–2015 mean 0.2; Injury 2005–2010 mean 3.6 vs. 2000–2005 mean 3.4 and 2010–2015 mean 2.2; IJMS 2010–2015 mean 4.4 vs. 2000–2010 mean 1.1. The number of Irish presentations at the BOA fell from a mean of 5 between 2000 and 2010 to a mean of 1.2 between 2011 and 2017. The rate of IOA abstract submissions compared over the same period has fallen by 21%. We also found that 4% of Irish orthopaedic publications in the IJMS were scientific in nature; this figure was 3.7% of publications in injury and 32.6% in JBJS (UK).


There has been a significant decrease in publication rates by T&O trainees in high-quality journals. There has also been a notable decline in Irish representation at the BOA and a drop in the number of abstract submissions to the IOA. We suggest these findings coincide with the streamlining of surgical training in Ireland, which does not provide for the pursuit in research that is crucial to our practice as clinicians, to the future of our specialty and to the Irish orthopaedic representation internationally.


Clinical research Irish orthopaedic training Orthopaedic research 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ailbhe White Gibson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kevin Clesham
    • 1
  • Oisin Tully
    • 1
  • John F. Quinlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Trauma and OrthopaedicsAdelaide and Meath Incorporating the National Children’s HospitalDublinIreland

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