Study Finds That Women Do Not Receive the Credit They Deserve in Scientific Research

A new study finds that women in science are less likely than their male counterparts to receive authorship credit for the work they do. Researchers used a large set of administrative data from universities that revealed exactly who was involved with and paid on various research projects. The data were linked to authorship information on patents and articles published in scientific journals — to see which people who worked on individual projects received credit in the patents and journals and who did not. The data set included information on 128,859 people who worked on 9,778 research teams, including faculty members, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research staff, and undergraduates.

The results showed that women who worked on a research project were 13 percent less likely to be named as authors in related scientific articles compared to their male colleagues. Furthermore, women were 59 percent less likely than men to be named on patents related to projects that they both worked on.

The study showed that at every position level, women were less likely than men to get credit. The gap was particularly evident at earlier stages of their careers. For example, only 15 percent of female graduate students were ever named as an author on a document, compared with 21 percent of male graduate students.

“There is a clear gap between the rate at which women and men are named as co-authors on publications,” said Julia Lane, a co-author of the study and a professor at New York University. “The gap is strong, persistent, and independent of the research field.”

Dr. Lane added that “the gap in attribution will have clear negative effects on the career prospects for women in science. I fear that it will deter young women from pursuing science as a career.”

Other co-authors of the study were Matthew Ross of Northeastern University; Britta Glennon of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Raviv Murciano- Goroff of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University; and Bruce Weinberg and Enrico Berkes at Ohio State University.

The full study, “Women Are Credited Less in Science Than Are Men,” was published in the journal Nature. it may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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