Assessment of Women Physicians Among Authors of Perspective-Type Articles Published in High-Impact Pediatric Journals

JAMA Netw Open. 2018 Jul 6;1(3):e180802. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0802.


Importance: Most pediatricians are women; however, women pediatricians are underrepresented in academic leadership positions such as department chairs and journal editors and among first authors of original research articles published in pediatric journals. Publication of all types of articles, particularly in high-impact specialty journals, is crucial to career building and academic success.

Objective: To examine the gender-related profile associated with authors of perspective-type articles in the 4 highest-impact general pediatric journals to determine whether women physicians were similarly underrepresented.

Design and setting: Cross-sectional study of perspective-type articles published between 2013 and 2017 in the 4 highest-impact general pediatric journals: Academic Pediatrics, JAMA Pediatrics, The Journal of Pediatrics, and Pediatrics.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome measure was the number and percentage of first-author women physicians as compared with men physicians. Secondary outcome measures included number and percentage of all men and all women among last authors and coauthors associated with physician first authors.

Results: A total of 425 perspective-type articles were identified, with physicians listed as the first author on 338 (79.5%). Women were underrepresented among physician first authors of known gender (140 of 336 [41.7%]), particularly among physician first authors of article categories described as scholarly (range, 15.4%-44.1%) vs categories described as narrative (range, 52.9%-65.6%) in nature. Women were also underrepresented among last authors and coauthors of articles attributed to both men and women physician first authors, although the underrepresentation of women among last authors and coauthors was more pronounced if a man physician was the first author.

Conclusions and relevance: Because perspective-type articles provide an opportunity for authors to express their opinions, provide insights that may influence their field, and enhance their academic resumes, there is a need for pediatric journal editors and leaders of medical societies who are associated with these journals to ensure the equitable inclusion of women in medicine. A hallmark of best practices for diversity and inclusion in academic medicine is transparency with regard to reporting of gender disparities in all areas of scholarship attribution and credit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Male
  • Pediatrics*
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data*