Sex disparities in authorship of ophthalmic research


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new analysis of ophthalmic articles published over the last decade has found that women were underrepresented in terms of prestigious last authorships, had published fewer articles, and were less commonly cited in a key role compared with men. 

Researchers analysed data from 87,640 original articles published in 248 ophthalmologic journals between January 2008 and August 2018.  

Of 344,433 total authorships, they found female scholars held 34.9 per cent of all authorships, 37.1 per cent of first authorships, 36.7 per cent of coauthorships, and 27.1 per cent of last authorships. Female representation showed cross-journal uniformity but transnational differences. 

They also found that in recent years, the percentages of women with first or last authorship has increased. 

The authors said the findings suggest an average integration of female scholars into ophthalmic research compared with other subdisciplines, while the sex-specific gap for last authorship suggests career inequalities.

They pointed out that because “there are plenty of female scholars at the beginning of their career, female academic leadership may increase in the coming years". 

They concluded: “Data in the coming years may clarify whether female career inequalities will cease and whether sex equitable opportunities in ophthalmic research can be achieved.”

The research is published in JAMA Ophthalmology