Meta-Research: Author-level data confirm the widening gender gap in publishing rates during COVID-19

Publications are essential for a successful academic career, and there is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing gender disparities in the publishing process. We used longitudinal publication data on 431,207 authors in four disciplines - basic medicine, biology, chemistry and clinical medicine - to quantify the differential impact of COVID-19 on the annual publishing rates of men and women. In a difference-in-differences analysis, we estimated that the average gender difference in publication productivity increased from –0.26 in 2019 to –0.35 in 2020; this corresponds to the output of women being 17% lower than the output of men in 2109, and 24% lower in 2020. An age-group comparison showed a widening gender gap for both early-career and mid-career scientists. The increasing gender gap was most pronounced among highly productive authors and in biology and clinical medicine. Our study demonstrates the importance of reinforcing institutional commitments to diversity through policies that support the inclusion and retention of women in research.Read more…

Publications are essential for a successful academic career, and there is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing gender disparities in the publishing process. We used longitudinal publication data on 431,207 authors in four disciplines - basic medicine, biology, chemistry and clinical medicine - to quantify the differential impact of COVID-19 on the annual publishing rates of men and women. In a difference-in-differences analysis, we estimated that the average gender difference in publication productivity increased from –0.26 in 2019 to –0.35 in 2020; this corresponds to the output of women being 17% lower than the output of men in 2109, and 24% lower in 2020. An age-group comparison showed a widening gender gap for both early-career and mid-career scientists. The increasing gender gap was most pronounced among highly productive authors and in biology and clinical medicine. Our study demonstrates the importance of reinforcing institutional commitments to diversity through policies that support the inclusion and retention of women in research.Read more…


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