New data show gender bias in scientific articles

December 13, 2013

Women publish fewer scientific articles and are involved in fewer international research projects than their male peers, according to a new study by Université de Montréal professor Vincent Larivière and colleagues. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, also shows that women’s articles are cited less often, even when they are lead author. These statistics hold true in most countries, with the exception of Lithuania, Ukraine, Macedonia and Turkmenistan. In North America, a few provinces and states “have achieved near-parity between the sexes” in academia, including Quebec, Oregon and Washington, reports University Affairs. Worldwide, there are similar pockets of equality within Brazil, Argentina and France. However, Saudi Arabia, Iran and North African countries “continue to be the worst places to try to break through as a woman academic.” The study’s researchers analyzed 5.4 million articles published between 2008 and 2012 using the names of 27 million authors. “Starting in 2008, the Web of Science database…started recording the authors’ first names rather than just their initials. This has allowed us to determine the sex of most of these researchers and thus establish the position of women in each discipline, by country,” explains Larivière. University Affairs | Nature.com