Gender differences and cooperation in medical authorships - an analysis of the recent ten years in five key medical disciplines


Background: Career prospects in academic medicine are strongly linked to scientific authorship and this marker has been widely used as an indicator of gender equity in academia. However, direct comparisons of medical disciplines regarding their proportion of female physicians (FP) in different countries are missing. This study examines the gender parity and gender cooperation using first authorships (FA) and senior authorships (SA) of scientific publications in five medical disciplines and six different OECD countries over a 10-year time-trend.

Methods: Articles from three high-impact journals in each of the medical discipline radiology, urology, surgery, gynecology, and pediatrics from the years 2007/8 and 2017/18 were retrospectively reviewed. The gender and affiliation location of the FA and SA of original research articles and reviews were assigned and compared with the proportion of in each discipline for the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. Mantel-Haenszel test and multinomial logistic regression models were used to calculate differences in proportions of women authors and FP and to assess trends and proportions of FA and SA.

Results: 30,803 articles were evaluated. Equally, with rising proportions of FP in all disciplines, the number of women authors increased across years. The shares of women FAs were either significantly higher (urology/surgery/gynecology) or balanced (pediatrics/radiology) compared to the proportion of FP. In contrast, the shares of women SA were balanced only in disciplines with a low proportion of FP (urology and surgery) and otherwise reduced. Women same-gender cooperation was as common as men same-gender cooperation and preferred over a women-led mixed gender cooperation in disciplines where this seemed to be practicable due to the high proportions of FP.

Conclusion: In contrast to FA, a significant disparity persists in SA, particularly in disciplines with a high proportion of FP. The discrepancy between FA and SA may reflect, among others, dropout from an academic career in early or mid-academic levels, for example, due to structural inequality; together with the findings on gender preference in authorship collaborations, this may inform future strategies for promoting equal career advancement for women physicians.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 27.01.2023

Anmerkungen des Dekanats

© 2023. The Author(s).

PubMed 36707803