Achieving a publication as a medical student renders ENT trainees six times more likely to publish again during postgraduate surgical training. But how does this correlate with subsequent subspecialty fellowship training and a career in academia? Johnson et al examined 249 otolaryngologists who graduated in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from 32 five-year residency programmes in the US. Overall, each qualified otolaryngologist had a mean total of 10.2 publications (median 6; mode 3). A mean of 1.3, 3.5 and 5.3 publications were achieved per person before, during and after residency training, respectively. Studies published were most commonly observational (40%) and case reports/series (22.8%), and least often systematic reviews/meta-analyses (3.5%) and clinical trials (2.1%). A positive correlation existed between publications achieved before and during residency, as well as between ones achieved during and after residency. Trainees who underwent post-residency subspecialist training in form of a fellowship had significantly more publications in general, and first-author publications specifically, compared to others. Residents with higher mean total first-author publications, and those who had undertaken fellowship training were more likely to go into academic careers than others. Overall, the size of a residency programme was strongly positively correlated to publications achieved during residency, and gender had no impact on findings. What do we learn from this study? Those likely to embark on academic careers publish early, publish more, train in bigger programmes, and undertake post-residency fellowship training, irrespective of gender. Maybe not rocket science, but nevertheless evidence for a likely successful ‘join-the-dots’ pathway if academic medicine is for you.