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Gender Trends in Authorship in Psychiatry Journals From 2008 to 2018

Published:February 19, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.02.010

      Abstract

      Background

      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.

      Methods

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusions

      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.

      Keywords

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