A new analysis has found that women in science receive less authorship for their work than their male counterparts.
Women are less likely than men to receive recognition at any level of position, with the gap being particularly evident earlier in their careers, the study published in the journal found Nature On Wednesday.
Women are also named less frequently than men in patents relating to projects they both worked on, by a nearly 60 percent margin, even when all factors were controlled for, researchers including those from New York University (NYU ) in the USA.
They said only 15 out of 100 female graduate students were ever credited as authors on documents, compared to 21 out of 100 male graduate students.
In all scientific fields—from those in which they are in the majority, like healthcare, to those in which they are in the minority, like in engineering—women are less likely to get the recognition they deserve Preserve research output, scientists said.
“We have known for a long time that women publish and patent less than men. But because previous data never showed who participated in the research, no one knew why,” said study co-author Julia Lane of NYU.
“There were anecdotes – like that of Rosalind Franklin being denied authorship in a famous film Nature Article by James Watson and Francis Crick, although he correctly demonstrated the double helix structure of DNA – but there was no evidence,” explained Dr. Lane.
In the new study, the scientists analyzed the Umetrics dataset available through the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science, which contained detailed information on funded research projects for 52 colleges and universities from 2013 to 2016.
The analysis included data from 128,859 people working in 9,778 research teams, including faculty members, graduate students, postdocs, research associates and undergraduate students.
“There is a clear discrepancy between the frequency with which women and men are named as co-authors of publications. The divide is strong, persistent and independent of the research area,” said Dr. Lane.
Women are less likely to be listed as authors, even for articles that scientists consider “high impact” articles, the study says.
“There should never be a credit gap between men and women. But you really don’t want to have a gap in the research that has the greatest impact on a field of science. That’s a cause for concern,” said study co-author Bruce Weinberg of Ohio State University in the US.
“That ties in with the anecdote by Rosalind Franklin. The gap in attribution will have a significant negative impact on women’s career prospects in science. I fear this will discourage young women from pursuing careers in science,” said Dr. Lane.
The researchers also included in their analysis a complementary source of data from a survey of over 2,400 scientists.
It turned out that women and other historically marginalized groups are often much more committed to the recognition of their scientific contributions.
Researchers said that 43 percent of the women surveyed said they had been excluded from an academic paper they contributed to, compared to 38 percent of the men.
Women are also more likely than men to report that others have underestimated their contribution and that they have faced discrimination, stereotypes and prejudice, the study found.
“To be a woman [means] that quite often you contribute to science in one way or another, but unless you shout out or make a strong point, our contributions are often underappreciated,” said one respondent to the survey.