Sackett (2001) pointed out that the academic success of a researcher is most commonly defined by products, such as “lead authorship, promotion, tenure, career awards, honours, power and reputation,” and not by true academia as “defined in terms of intelligence, theoretical understanding, mastery of a body of knowledge and teaching skills” (pp. 94). The author concludes that true academic success for a research is defined by mentoring, and personal characteristics such as creating priority lists and time management. While Sackett’s article is a commentary style article on truly what makes a good leader and a productive scientist, it does reflect a common theme in the literature surrounding the importance of mentorship in academic research.

Research Mentorship Program

Keyser (2008) describes a framework for how academic medical institutions can build a successful research mentorship program. The article provides detailed information on selection criteria and incentives for mentors, ways to facilitate the mentor/mentee relationship, considerations on strengthening the mentee’s abilities, and methods to facilitate the professional development of both the mentor and mentee (Keyser, 2008). Kesyer (2008) studies a successful mentor through the factors of personal trust, respect, understanding, flexibility, patience, integrity, support, vision, approachability, accessibility, and the ability to communicate effectively (Keyser, 2008).

Specifically, a research mentor should “have demonstrated knowledge and interest in the mentee’s specific area of research, be proficient in the skills needed by the mentee, and have enough experience with the institution, department, or program to socialize the mentee to its norms, values, and procedures” (Kesyer, 2008, p. 218) Findings of this study (Kesyer, 2008) fit in with what is already known about leadership in academic medical centers and bolsters the argument for an increase of leadership and mentorship opportunities for research faculty


  • Keyser, D. J., Lakoski, J. M., Lara-Cinisomo, S., Schultz, D. J., Williams, V. L., Zellers, D. F., & Pincus, H. A. (2008). Advancing institutional efforts to support research mentorship: A conceptual framework and self-assessment tool. Academic Medicine83(3), 217-225.
  • Sackett, D. L. (2001). On the determinants of academic success as a clinician-scientist. Clinical and investigative medicine24(2), 94-100.