Women in science are less credited for their contributions than men

A new study has found that women in science are significantly less likely than men to receive credit as an author in publications to which they contribute.

Researchers reviewed a large set of administrative data from universities that were related to patents and articles published in scientific journals taken from the UMETRICS data set. This provided in-depth information on research projects from 53 colleges and universities from 2013 to 2016.

These data were collected and analyzed to find out who participated in these research projects, whether they were paid for their contributions and whether they were credited in the final publication. The analysis used information on more than 125,000 people in nearly 10,000 research teams, examining the contribution of people in roles ranging in seniority, including faculty, students, researchers and students.

The credit gap between the sexes

The results of the study published in natureshowed that women were 13% less likely to be credited as a cited author in published studies than their male counterparts.

In addition, women are 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 does not explain the discrepancy in accreditation. In fact, the effect became even more apparent in early career roles, with only 15% of students cited as authors of publications compared to 21% of male students.

Enrico Berks, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University, explains: “Women do not receive the same level of credit as men in magazine articles. The difference is constant and strong. “

“We found that women were 59 percent less likely than men to be listed on patents for projects they both worked on,” added Prof. Bruce Weinberg, co-author and professor of economics in Ohio.

These findings come from the results of a recent study among more than 2,400 scientists who support these claims. In the study, women reported being missed from the list of authors in publications more often than men. One woman said, “To be a woman [means] that quite often you contribute in one way or another to science, but unless you call out or point out 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 saying they were similar.

Weinberg goes on to explain how nature The document is different from other similar studies: “The unique thing 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 understand whether or not people should be credited for a particular scientific publication or patent. “

Women receive less credit, regardless of field or impact factor

Moreover, this effect is not limited to a specific field of science. Women are less likely to receive credit in disciplines such as healthcare, where women are in the majority, and engineering, where they are in the minority.

Women are also less likely to be credited in so-called high-impact magazines, which are considered high-quality and widely cited publications. “There should never be a difference in credit between men and women,” Weinberg added. “But you really don’t want a gap in the research that has the greatest impact on science. It’s a huge source of concern. “

Researchers note that the fact that women in science do not receive adequate credit for their work has long been known. One of the most famous cases is Rosalind Franklin, who was wrongly excluded from Crick and Watson’s original document on the structure of DNA, although she made a decisive contribution to the discovery.

Berks summarizes the findings, saying: “All the evidence is strong and points in the same direction.

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

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