Gender Differences in the Authorship of Original Research in Pediatric Journals, 2001-2016

J Pediatr. 2017 Dec;191:244-249.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.08.044. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Objectives: To examine the gender of authors of original research in 3 high-impact pediatric journals between 2001 and 2016, given the importance of publishing on academic promotion, and to compare authorship gender with the percentage of women on editorial boards and with academic faculty composition.

Study design: We assessed the prevalence of female first and senior (last-listed) authorship of original research articles published in 3 pediatric-focused journals Pediatrics, JAMA Pediatrics (entitled Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine until 2013), and The Journal of Pediatrics. We also examined the gender breakdown of the main editors and the broader editorial boards of these journals. In addition, we examined whether junior female faculty co-authored with male or female senior faculty.

Results: Of 3895 original articles, 22 were excluded because the gender of either the first or senior author could not be determined from the name. An analysis of authorship by year showed increasing female representation across the selected journals in both first (39.8% in 2001, 57.7% in 2016) and senior (28.6% in 2001, 38.1% in 2016) authors, respectively. Editorial boards also showed increasing female representation (17.8% in 2001 to 39.8% in 2016). Junior female faculty were more likely to co-author with senior female women (female first and last author); the gap remained unchanged despite the increasing number of women entering pediatrics.

Conclusions: Women are underrepresented as authors and editors, although the gap is closing. Junior women are less likely to co-author with senior men, which may be a disservice given current gender disparities in promotion and leadership.

Keywords: academic medicine; authorship; editorial board; mentorship; pediatrics; professional development; sex.

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Bibliometrics
  • Faculty, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics*
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexism / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States