Women in science receive less recognition for their contributions, the study found

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Women in science are less likely than their men to receive authorship for the work they do, according to a new innovative study.

The researchers used a large set of administrative data from the universities that helped build it, revealing exactly who was involved and who paid for the various research projects.

These data were linked to patents and articles published in scientific journals – which authors cite – to see which people who worked on individual projects received credit in patents and journals and who did not.

Results published today in the journal natureshowed that women who worked on a research project were 13% less likely to be cited as authors in related scientific articles than their male counterparts.

“Women don’t get the same level of credit as men in magazine articles,” said Enrico Berks, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in economics at Ohio State University. “The difference is permanent and strong.”

And there was another, even bigger gap.

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

These findings were further supported by a study of more than 2,400 scientists, which found that women reported being excluded from authorship of scientific papers in which they participated more often than men.

The administrative data that were key to this study came from the UMETRICS dataset, accessible through the Institute for Innovation and Science Research, which contains detailed information on sponsored research projects for 52 colleges and universities from 2013 to 2016.

It includes information on 128,859 people who worked in 9,778 research teams, including faculty, students, PhD students, researchers and students.

“The unique thing is that we have the data to know exactly who worked on individual research projects and what their role was,” Weinberg said. “This rich data helps us understand whether or not people should be credited for a particular scientific publication or patent.”

Researchers knew that women were less likely than men to occupy senior positions in research teams. But that didn’t explain the difference. This study showed that at each level of position, women are less likely than men to get credit.

This was especially evident in the early stages of their careers. For example, only 15 out of 100 women graduates have ever been listed as a document author, compared to 21 out of 100 students.

“Women are more likely to take up support positions, but receive less credit than men at any level,” Berks said.

Women are less likely to receive authorship in all scientific fields, from those in which they are in the majority (such as healthcare) to those in which they are in the minority (such as engineering).

The results show that women are even less likely to be listed as authors of what scientists consider “high-impact” articles.

“There should never be a difference in credit between men and women. But you really don’t want a difference in the research that has the greatest impact on science,” Weinberg said. “It’s a huge source of concern.”

In a survey of researchers, the results show that 43% of women say they were excluded from a scientific paper for which they participated – compared to 38% of men.

Women are also more likely than men to report that others underestimate their contribution and face discrimination, stereotypes and biases. One reports: “To be a woman [means] that you often contribute to science in one way or another, but unless you call out or point out a strong point, our contribution is often underestimated. “

Many respondents also indicated that such biases could affect racial and ethnic minorities and foreign-born scholars.

Weinberg noted that it has long been known that women scientists receive less recognition for their work. The most famous example is Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA, but was wrongly denied authorship of the original document by Crick and Watson.

This new study adds an additional level of evidence with the administrative data from UMETRICS and the results of the study.

“All the evidence is strong and pointing in the same direction,” Burks said.

Other co-authors of the study are Matthew Ross of the University of Clermont; Britta Glenn of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Raviv Murchiano-Gorof of Questrom School of Business at Boston University; and Julia Lane of Wagner School of Public Policy at New York University.


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More info:
Julia Lane, Women are less recognized in science than their male counterparts, nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-04966-w. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04966-w

Provided by Ohio State University

Quote: Women in science receive less recognition for their contribution, according to a study (2022, June 22), retrieved on June 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-women-science- credit-contributions.html

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