If a woman is an author on an article appearing in a medical journal, that paper is more likely to include analysis by gender and sex, according to a new study. Both the US National Institutes of Health and the European Commission have encouraged medical researchers to include such analyses in medical research, the study notes.
Researchers from Stanford University and Aarhus University sifted through more than 1.5 million medical research papers published between 2008 and 2015. They used the name-to-gender assignment algorithm Gender API to determine the authors' gender, and they then analyzed global gender disparities in authorship and whether the inclusion of woman authors affected whether the studies included gender and sex analysis.
As they report in Nature Human Behaviour, they found that it does, especially if women are the first or last authors of the paper. The researchers report an odds ratio of 2.11 for first authors and 4.31 for senior authors. They also uncovered global disparities in authorship, as they found that women made up 40 percent of first authors and 27 percent of last authors.
"Our study establishes an empirical link between gender diversity in the scientific workforce and research outcomes," Aarhus's Jesper Schneider and colleagues write in their paper. "Our findings show a symbiotic relationship between increasing the numbers of women in academic medicine and enhancing excellence in research by incorporating [gender and sex analysis]."