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Mind the gap: Gendered publication trends in oncology.

BACKGROUND:Investigating scientific publication trends in the field of oncology may highlight opportunities for improved representation, mentorship, collaboration, and advancement for women. METHODS:We conducted a bibliometric analysis of Annals of Surgical Oncology; Cancer; International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (IJROBP); JAMA Oncology; and Journal of Clinical Oncology in 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2017. Full name and degree credentials per author role (ie, first or senior author), article type, publication year, and citation metrics were collected. First names were used to identify author gender. RESULTS:Across 9189 articles, female representation rose between 1990 and 2017 (first authors: 17.7% in 1990, 36.6% in 2017; senior authors: 11.7% in 1990, 28.5% in 2017). For the 50 most cited articles per year, women comprised a smaller percent of first (26.5%) and senior (19.9%) authors. The average citation count was higher for male first (44.8 per article) and senior (47.1) authors compared to female first (39.7) and senior (44.1) authors. With male senior authors, the first author was more likely male (71.4% male; 25.0% female); with female senior authors, first authors were 50.2% male and 47.6% female. IJROBP had the lowest total female representation among first (25.1%) and senior (16.7%) authors. Women had more MDs with Masters degrees, whereas men held more MDs only and more MDs with PhDs. CONCLUSION:Despite positive trends, substantial gendered differences in oncology publications persist. Fostering more women in oncology research will benefit female representation at many levels of academia and improve productivity, collaboration, and recruitment, especially in technical fields such as radiation and surgical oncology.


Dalal, Nicole H., Fumiko Chino, Hannah Williamson, Georgia M. Beasley, April K. S. Salama, and Manisha Palta. “Mind the gap: Gendered publication trends in oncology.” Cancer 126, no. 12 (June 2020): 2859–65.

Published Date: 
Monday, June 1, 2020
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