Report Finds Only a Small Fraction of Academic Research is Authored by Women

According to a new report from Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies, only 30 percent of academic research published between 2014 and 2017 in the United Kingdom was authored by women. This is barely an increase from 2006 to 2009, when women authored 26 percent of all academic research.

For this report, the researchers scanned 14.6 million studies published between 2006 and 2017 by scientists at 963 institutions across the world, determining gender of authors from their first names. The gender disparity of academic authors in the United Kingdom was also present in the United States and Germany, where women authors represented 31.8 percent and 25.7 percent of all research, respectively.

The UK school with the highest proportion of women research authors was the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with 46 percent, followed by King’s College of London with just over 40 percent. Two of the UK’s most prestigious institutions, boasted relatively low percentages of women authors; the University of Oxford ranked 20th out of all UK schools with 30.7 percent of its publications having a woman author and the University of Cambridge ranked 30th with 28.4 percent.

To combat this gender gap, the research team believes that academic journals need to put more women on editorial boards and account for the fact that women’s work was under-cited across nearly every field, especially in the natural sciences and engineering.

“The point isn’t necessarily to raise the percentage [of papers authored by women],” said Caroline Wagner, a public policy scholar at Ohio State University who was involved with conceptualizing the gender ranking. “The point is to examine the systemic obstacles to women’s success.”

Filed Under: DiscriminationGender GapResearch/Study


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