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Women scientists less likely to be recognized as authors, analysis finds | UK News

Women scientists are less likely to receive author credit or be named on patents related to the work they do compared to their male counterparts – including in fields such as health, where women dominate – the data suggests.

This gender gap may help explain well-documented disparities in the apparent contributions of male and female scientists – like that of Rosalind Franklin, whose pivotal contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA has gone unrecognized. initially because it was not cited on the core Article nature of James Watson and Francis Crick.

“We have known for a long time that women publish and patent less than men. But, since previous data never showed who participated in the research, no one knew why,” said Professor Julia Lane of New York University in the US, who led the new research.

Lane and his colleagues analyzed administrative data on research projects conducted at 52 US colleges and universities between 2013 and 2016. They compared information on 128,859 scientists to 39,426 journal articles and 7,675 patents, examining which people who worked on individual projects received credit and who did. not.

The study, also published in Nature, suggests that Rosalind Franklin was far from alone in not receiving credit for her work. He found that on average, across all job titles and fields, men were about twice as likely to be named on a scientific paper or patent by their research team as women.

This gap was seen in female-dominated fields like health, as well as male-dominated fields, like engineering, and was particularly evident during the early stages of women’s careers. For example, only 15 out of 100 women graduates have been named authors of a publication, compared to 21 out of 100 for their male peers.

“There is a clear discrepancy between the rate at which women and men are named co-authors of publications,” Lane said. “The gap is strong, persistent and independent of research area. I’m afraid this deters young women from pursuing careers in science.

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The team also surveyed more than 2,400 published scientists, asking them if they had ever been excluded from a paper they had contributed to, and why they thought this had happened. Among women, 43% said they had been excluded from a post, compared to 38% of men. The most common explanation was that others had underestimated their contribution, however, women were twice as likely to cite discrimination or bias as the explanation, while men were more likely to say their contributions were not did not justify paternity.

Dr Tina Joshi, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology at the University of Plymouth, said: “This is a welcome study which highlights the gender disparity that many women continue to experience in the workplace. university. We can continue to address this inequality as an academic community by encouraging dialogue about equality, diversity, and inclusion, and by working together to give all scholars credit for their contributions.