Women less like to author invited commentaries in medical journals


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new study has identified significant gender disparities in the authorship of invited commentaries in medical journals, with the disparity larger for senior researchers. 

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, estimated the odds ratio (OR) of authoring an invited commentary for women compared with men who had similar expertise, seniority and publication metrics in approximately 2,500 journals. The commentaries were published from 01 January 2013 to 31 December 2017. 

Among researchers who had been actively publishing for the median of 19 years, the odds of authoring an invited commentary were 21 per cent lower for women compared with men with similar fields of expertise and publication metrics. 

The authors said the finding challenges the common assumption that gender disparities in invited article authorship can be explained by greater publication success, seniority or self-selection into competitive fields among male scientists. 

“Future work should focus on developing fair, data-driven approaches to expert-finding that avoid propagating biases in bibliographic data. If successfully implemented, this strategy could diversify professional networks, strengthen the author talent pool, and provide opportunities to a wider group of scientists,” the authors concluded.