Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Women authors make up a fraction of the research published in high-profile journals.


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Another study by the University of Washington was distributed online in a letter printed on March 7 in Nature. The preparatory investigation, by UW brain science educator Ione Fine and doctoral understudy Alicia Shen, finds that some prominent neuroscience diaries had a low portrayal of female creators.

Almost 25 percent of Nature research articles listed women as the first author — usually the junior scientist who led the research. Among the last authors — typically the senior laboratory leader — just over 15 percent were women.

Over a 12-year period ending in 2017, the percentage of female authors across these journals showed little improvement: less than 1 percent annually, with many journals showing no increase at all.

For correlation, scientists additionally took a gander at the quantity of ladies who got significant National Institute of Health gifts amid a similar day and age. Those numbers were considerably higher, and expanded gradually yet consistently, with just shy of 30 percent of stipends in 2017 granted to ladies.

UW psychology professor Ione Fine said, “These research grants are awarded based on significance, impact, and productivity. We shouldn’t see this huge discrepancy between NIH funding and last authorship in high-impact journals. It’s particularly troubling given that publishing in high-profile journals is virtually imperative for winning academic awards or positions at top-ranked institutions.”

Gender orientation variations in STEM fields have accumulated more consideration lately. While National Science Foundation-aggregated information demonstrates that ladies make up a developing extent of STEM staff, their numbers remain altogether lower than those of men. A 2016 overview by the Society for Neuroscience demonstrated that somewhat more than half of the neuroscience doctorates are granted to ladies, however, women make up a normal of just 30 percent of the neuroscience workforce.

During the study, scientists turned to the MEDLINE database of articles, which is hosted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. They focused on 15 journals that publish neuroscience research, accounting for nearly 167,000 research articles from 2005 to 2017, and analyzed the author bylines using another database that predicts gender based on more than 216,000 distinct first names.

Some journals did have a proportionate number of female authors. The journals with the highest percentage of first authors were Neuropsychology Review (53 percent) and Brain (43 percent); among last authors, numbers were highest in Neuropsychology Review (39 percent) and Current Opinion in Neurobiology (27 percent).

Shen said, “From our analysis, it is not that women are not conducting research and publishing, they are just much less likely to get their work into the really high-profile journals.”

Eve Riskin, UW associate dean of engineering for diversity and access said, “Increasing the number of women faculty in STEM fields is the goal of the UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change. But if publication presents a barrier, then some universities may be challenged to hire and promote women.”

“Research shows that diverse teams lead to better solutions. It also suggests that female students in STEM do better when they have female faculty as instructors. Holding women to higher standards for publication makes it harder for universities to increase their number of female faculty members in STEM and in leadership positions.”