Gender Trends in Authorship in Psychiatry Journals From 2008 to 2018

Published:February 19, 2019DOI:



      Women are currently underrepresented in academic psychiatry. As publication activity reflects both leadership and participation in academia, we examined temporal trends in women’s authorship by conducting a large-scale bibliometric study of psychiatry journals.


      We examined changes in proportions of women in the first, last, and overall authorship positions over time; relationship to journal impact factor and editorial board makeup; and rates of transition to senior author status using original research articles published in the 24 highest-impact psychiatry journals between January 2008 and May 2018.


      In 30,934 articles, women represented 40.0% of all authors in 2008 and 44.8% in 2018, with a significant increase in the percentage of women as first authors (2008: 43.5%, 2018: 49.5%; B = 0.64, p = .002) and last authors over time (2008: 30.0%, 2018: 35.7%; B = 0.64, p = 1 × 10−5). Articles with women as last authors were significantly more likely than those with men as last authors to have a woman as first author (χ21 = 126.1, p < 2.2 × 10−16). Women exhibited slower rates of transition to the last author position (log rank p = 2 × 10−16); time to 10% transition was 5 years for men and 9 years for women.


      These results indicate continued improvement in the representation of women authors in psychiatry journals, resulting in near parity in first authors. However, slower rates of transition to the senior author position and continued underrepresentation of women as senior authors suggest ongoing challenges in achieving gender parity in academic leadership. At the present rate of change for last authors (0.64% increase per year), women would achieve parity in senior authorship in ∼20 to 25 years.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • APA Committee on Women in Psychology
        The changing gender composition of psychology: Update and expansion on the 1995 Task Force Report.
        (Available at:) (Accessed June 6, 2018)
        • Heiser S.
        More women than men enrolled in U.S. medical schools in 2017.
        AAMC News. 2017, December 18; (Available at:) (Accessed June 21, 2018)
        • Association of American Medical Colleges
        Distribution of U.S. medical school faculty by sex, rank, and department.
        (Available at:) (Accessed April 2, 2018)
        • Dutta R.
        • Hawkes S.L.
        • Iversen A.C.
        • Howard L.
        Women in academic psychiatry.
        Psychiatrist. 2010; 34: 313-317
        • Erden Aki O.
        • Ozcelik Eroglu E.
        • Uslu E.
        Longitudinal analysis of female authorship of psychiatry articles in Turkey.
        Noro Psikiyatri Arsivi. 2015; 52: 95-98
      1. Frangou S. Women in Academic Psychiatry. Springer, New York2016
        • Süßenbacher S.
        • Amering M.
        • Gmeiner A.
        • Schrank B.
        Gender-gaps and glass ceilings: A survey of gender-specific publication trends in Psychiatry between 1994 and 2014.
        Eur Psychiatry. 2017; 44: 90-95
        • Doyle M.
        • Pederson A.
        • Meltzer-Brody S.
        Demographic and personal characteristics of male and female chairs in academic psychiatry.
        Acad Psychiatry. 2016; 40: 402-409
        • Morahan P.S.
        • Rosen S.E.
        • Richman R.C.
        • Gleason K.A.
        The leadership continuum: A framework for organizational and individual assessment relative to the advancement of women physicians and scientists.
        J Womens Health. 2011; 20: 387-396
        • Strand M.
        • Bulik C.M.
        Trends in female authorship in research papers on eating disorders: 20-Year bibliometric study.
        BJPsych Open. 2018; 4: 39-46
        • Amering M.
        • Schrank B.
        • Sibitz I.
        The gender gap in high-impact psychiatry journals.
        Acad Med. 2011; 86: 946-952
      2. Clarivate Analytics. Data citation index. Available at: Accessed April 12, 2018.

        • Kovalchik S.
        Download Content from NCBI Databases, Package ‘RISmed’ Version 2.1.7, 2017.
        (Available at:)
        • Fantini D.
        Search and Retrieve Scientific Publication Records from PubMed, Package ‘easyPubMed’ Version 2.3, 2017.
        (Available at:)
        • Wais K.
        Gender Prediction Based on First Names, Package ‘genderizeR’ Version 2.0.0, 2016.
        (Available at:)
        • Wais K.
        Gender prediction methods based on first names with genderizeR.
        R J. 2016; 8: 17-37
        • Shen Y.A.
        • Webster J.M.
        • Shoda Y.
        • Fine I.
        Persistent underrepresentation of women’s science in high profile journals.
        bioRxiv. 2018; ([published online ahead of print Mar 8])
        • Association of American Medical Colleges
        Distribution of faculty by department, rank, and gender, 2009.
        (Available at:) (Accessed December 7, 2018)
        • Levinson W.
        • Kaufman K.
        • Clark B.
        • Tolle S.W.
        Mentors and role models for women in academic medicine.
        West J Med. 1991; 154: 423-426
        • Lieberman J.A.
        • Ehrhardt A.A.
        • Simpson H.B.
        • Arbuckle M.R.
        • Fyer A.J.
        • Essock S.M.
        Eliminating the glass ceiling in academic psychiatry.
        Acad Psychiatry. 2018; 42: 523-528
        • Jordan C.J.
        • Carlezon W.A.
        Neuropsychopharmacology (NPP): Gender balance in journal function.
        Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019; 44: 4-8
        • Budden A.
        • Tregenza T.
        • Aarssen L.
        • Koricheva J.
        • Leimu R.
        • Lortie C.
        Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors.
        Trends Ecol Evol. 2008; 23: 4-6
        • Fishman M.
        • Williams W.A.
        • Goodman D.M.
        • Ross L.F.
        Gender differences in the authorship of original research in pediatric journals, 2001-2016.
        J Pediatr. 2017; 191: 244-249.e1
        • Sing D.C.
        • Jain D.
        • Ouyang D.
        Gender trends in authorship of spine-related academic literature-a 39-year perspective.
        Spine J. 2017; 17: 1749-1754
        • Bendels M.H.K.
        • Müller R.
        • Brueggmann D.
        • Groneberg D.A.
        Gender disparities in high-quality research revealed by Nature Index journals.
        PLoS One. 2018; 13: e0189136
        • Holman L.
        • Stuart-Fox D.
        • Hauser C.E.
        The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented?.
        PLoS Biol. 2018; 16: e2004956

      Linked Article