Researchers find a sharply lower prevalence of female authorship in medical research publications

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For women, gender inequalities is still evident in a variety of professions, including scientific research. In a recent study, released in the journal Family Practice, researchers found that women were less likely to be published in biomedical papers, outweighing men in other areas as well, by a drastic margin.

The study aimed to probe the extent of gender inequalities in research, particularly in general biomedical journals, based on the available data. “Many studies examined gender inequalities in research, but only a few data are available for general biomedical journals,” wrote Paul Sebo, the study’s lead author.

“We assessed the prevalence of female first authorship in general biomedical journals and examined its variations across a number of author, article and journal characteristics.”

For the study, Sebo, a Swiss researcher, and his team analyzed 767 articles from 2016 published in distinguished journals associated with healthcare and general internal medicine.

“We extracted the following data: author (gender, number of publications and affiliation of the first author), paper (number of authors, number of participants and study design) and journal characteristics (journal discipline and 2015 impact factor),” the findings declared. “We compared the proportion of articles authored by women and men using univariate and multivariate logistic regressions adjusted for intra-cluster correlations.”

According to the findings, researchers concluded that female authorship in the papers examined was less prevalent compared to their counterparts. In the female first authorship proportion, women were the result of 48%, or 366 articles, with more women published in primary health care journals (63%) than general internal medicine journals (33%).

The findings also determined that female authorship in published journals were more likely to be affiliated with academic institutions in the Western world. Among women, qualitative studies were favored more than experiments or systematic reviews.

“The underrepresentation of women in articles published by general internal medicine journals, in articles from the non-Western world and in systematic reviews and trials should be addressed,” the study concluded.