Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Years and Years

It may take the gender gap in the sciences decades or even longer to close, according to a new analysis.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne gauged the genders of 36 million authors of more than 10 million scientific articles indexed by PubMed or arXiv during the course of 15 years. As they report in PLOS Biology, the Melbourne team led by Cindy Hauser found that 87 of the 115 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) disciplines they examined had fewer than 45 percent female authors. The gap was especially apparent in physics, computer science, mathematics, surgery and chemistry, while fields like nursing, midwifery, and palliative care had more women.

In addition, they note a dearth of female authorship in senior positions and for invited articles.

The researchers also estimated how long, given their current trajectory, it would take various STEMM disciplines to reach gender parity. For some disciplines, like physics, that is expected to take more than 250 years. This led the researchers to suggest that further measures need to be taken to close the gap.

"For example, one could measure the impact of double-blind peer review or invitation-based submission models, which have been proposed to affect the proportion of female authors publishing in a given journal," first author Luke Holman says in a statement.

Their dataset has been publicly archived and is available through an online tool.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.