A recurring topic on the scholarly publishing blogs is the reality of gender bias. Googling “gender bias in medical publishing” produces a plethora of interesting data points as well. A recent post at The Scholarly Kitchen blog provides anyone new to this debate ample proof of the issue and how it has been addressed thus far. The Publication Plan, a not-for-profit organization providing resources for the medical publishing world, provides sources that both confirm the gender gap and claim that it is closing. Men publish more and receive more peer review invitations according to one source, while another study claims a “2 to 1 preference for hiring women over otherwise identical men” on the STEM tenure track. The issue is obviously a complicated one.
Looking at our own part in the gender bias occurring in the publishing world, a quick glance at the tables of contents in the last four issues of the Ochsner Journal show male authors outnumbering female authors, with women accounting for only 28%, 29%, and 34% of the total author count, other than in our most recently published pediatrics issue which had 47% female author contribution. What about peer review? A quick perusal of a reviewer database spreadsheet shows that only about 100 of 500 reviewers are women.
The new year is a good time for self-reflection, so stay tuned as we develop an action plan to encourage a more diverse, fair, and representative scholarly presence in our publication.