Women in science are less credited for their contribution than men

A new study has found that women in science are much less likely than men to receive credit as a writer in publications to which they contribute.

The researchers looked at a large body of administrative data from patent-linked universities and articles published in peer-reviewed journals from the UMETRICS dataset. This provided in-depth information on research projects from 53 colleges and universities from 2013 to 2016.

This data was collected and analyzed to reveal who participated in these research projects, whether they were paid for their contributions and whether they were credited to the final publication. The analysis used information on more than 125,000 people in nearly 10,000 research teams, examining the contributions of individuals to roles ranging in length of service, including faculty members, graduate students, research staff and undergraduates.

The credit gap between the sexes

The findings of the study, published in Natureshowed that women were 13% less likely to be recognized as a branded author in a published survey compared to their male colleagues.

In addition, women were less likely to receive credit regardless of their seniority. Researchers have known for some time that there are fewer women in senior positions in research teams, but that alone did not explain the discrepancy in accreditation. In fact, the result became even more apparent in early career roles, with only 15% of graduate students being cited as authors in publications compared to 21% of male students.

Enrico Berkes, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University, explains: “Women do not receive the same credit as men in journal articles. “The gap is persistent and strong.”

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“We found that women were 59% less likely than men to be named in patents related to projects they both worked on,” said Professor Bruce Weinberg, co-author and professor of economics in Ohio.

These findings come in the wake of the results of a recent study by more than 2,400 scientists who further support these claims. In the survey, women reported being dropped from the list of authors in publications more often than men. One woman said, “Being a woman [means] that very often you contribute in one way or another to science, but if you do not shout or mention a strong point, our contribution is often underestimated “.

Unfortunately, discrimination and stereotypes were also factors that contributed to the lack of accreditation, with several respondents from racial and ethnic minorities reporting experiencing similar prejudices.

Weinberg goes on to explain how this is done Nature The document differs from other similar studies: “What is unique is that we have the data to know exactly who worked on individual research projects and what their role was. “This rich data helps us to know whether or not people should be credited for a particular scientific publication or patent.”

Women receive less credit regardless of the field or impact factor

Moreover, this effect is not limited to a specific field of science. Women were less likely to receive writing credits in fields such as health, where women are the majority, and engineering, where they are the minority.

Women were also less likely to be featured in so-called “high impact” magazines, which were considered high quality and widely reported publications. “There should never be a credit gap between men and women,” Weinberg added. “But you really do not want a gap in research that has the greatest impact in a scientific field. “This is a huge source of concern.”

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Researchers note that the fact that women in science do not receive the proper praise for their work has long been known. One of the most famous cases was Rosalind Franklin, who was unjustly excluded from the original document by Crick and Watson on the structure of DNA, despite the fact that she contributed decisively to the discovery.

Berkes sums up the findings, saying: “All the evidence is strong and points in the same direction.”

Report: Ross MB, Glennon BM, Murciano-Goroff R, Berkes EG, Weinberg BA, Lane JI. Women are less credited to science than men. Nature. 2022: 1-2. doi: 10.1038 / s41586-022-04966-w

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