Women Are Making Progress in Academic Publishing in STEM But a Gender Gap Persists

New research led by John Ioannidis of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford University finds that women are making significant progress in academic publishing in STEM fields but a large gender gap remains.

Researchers evaluated the entire Scopus database, a database that includes papers across all scientific fields. The database included 5.8 million authors who could have their gender identity assigned with high certainty. Of those, 3.8 million were men and 2.0 million were women. The researchers found that men outnumbered women 3.93 times among those authors who started publishing before 1992, but only 1.36 times among those authors who started publishing after 2011.

However, when limited to the authors who had the highest impact (namely, those who were in the top 2 percent of their discipline based on a citation indicator), men outnumbered women 3.21 times among top-cited authors, decreasing from 6.41 times in the senior groups to 2.28 times in the youngest group who started publishing after 2011. In the youngest group, 32 of the 174 fields of science (18 percent) had at least as many women as men, or even more women than men, within the category of top-cited authors.

“Our work documents substantial shrinkage over time of the inequalities between men and women in the top echelons of scientific citation impact, but there is substantial room for further improvements in most scientific fields,” Dr. Ioannidis said.

The full study, “Gender Imbalances Among Top-Cited Scientists Across Scientific Disciplines Over Time Through the Analysis of Nearly 5.8 Million Authors,” was published on PLOS Biology. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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