Research: Gender gap in science is narrowing

The gender gap among the world's most cited scientists is narrowing, according to a new study.

Research: Gender gap in science is narrowing

The gender gap among the world's most cited scientists is narrowing, according to a new study. But there is still a clear gap between the visibility of female and male researchers, reports a team led by John Ioannidis from Stanford University in the journal “PLOS Biology”.

Data from 5.8 million authors from various scientific disciplines were taken into account. Around 3.8 million were men and around 2 million were women. The analysis showed that among those who began publishing studies before 1992, men published almost four times as often as women. For those who started academic writing after 2011, the ratio improved significantly and stands at 1 to 1.36.

However, among the most cited study writers - i.e. those with the greatest scientific influence - the gap is much larger: on average, men were 3.21 times more represented than women - 6.41 times more in the older groups and still 2.28 times in the youngest group to publish something for the first time since 2011. For every female author who is frequently cited by other researchers, there are more than two male authors - with big differences from country to country. In Japan, for example, even in the youngest group of highly cited researchers, there are 10 times more men than women, according to data.

Ioannidis said the study documented a significant decline in inequalities between men and women in top research. "But there is significant room for further improvement in most scientific areas."

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