Female Editorial Authorship Trends in High-Impact Ophthalmology Journals
This article was originally published here
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug 12. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.3027. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Individuals with perceived experience and expertise are invited by editorial boards to provide commentary through editorials. Female representation among editorialists is not yet defined.
OBJECTIVE: To determine female representation as editorial authors in 3 high-impact general ophthalmology journals.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study investigates the proportion of female authorship in editorials published between 2005 to 2009 and 2015 to 2019 in 3 journals: Ophthalmology, JAMA Ophthalmology, and American Journal of Ophthalmology. Data were collected from April to June 2020.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Proportions of female first and senior (last or solo) authors between 2005 to 2009 compared with 2015 to 2019. Secondary outcome measures include representation by sex across degree types and subspecialties. Comparisons were made for all editorialists and ophthalmologist editorialists.
RESULTS: Of 814 editorial articles, there were 1179 (first and senior) authors identified. Women held 301 (25.5%) of these authorships, including 116 of 365 first authorships (32.9%) and 185 of 814 senior authorships (23.9%). Overall, female first and senior authorships grew by 68.0% between 2005 to 2009 and 2015 to 2019 (85 of 469 [18.1%] vs 216 of 710 [30.4%]; difference, 12.3%; 95% CI, 7.4-317.2; P < .001). Between 2005 to 2009 and 2015 to 2019, first and senior authorships by women increased (first: 33 of 133 [24.8%] vs 83 of 232 [35.8%]; difference, 11.0%; 95% CI, 1.4-320.6; P = .03; senior: 52 of 336 [15.5%] vs 133 of 478 [27.8%]; difference, 12.3%; 95% CI, 6.8-317.9; P < .001). JAMA Ophthalmology most substantially contributed to the increase in female first and senior authorships (13.8% and 16%), although the test for homogeneity among the 3 journals was not significant. The proportion of female ophthalmologist first authors was greater than the proportion of American Board of Ophthalmology-certified female ophthalmologists (81 of 281 [28.9%] vs 123 of 672 [18.3%]; difference, 10.6%; 95% CI, 5.3-315.9; P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The proportion of female senior authors increased by 68.0% between 2005 to 2009 and 2015 to 2019, but female authors represented only 25.5% of editorialists. Compared with male ophthalmologists, female ophthalmologists were more commonly first than senior authors. Additionally, female authors were more likely to be nonophthalmologists or to hold nonmedical, non-PhD degrees. While the swelling rank of female editorialists has paralleled the rising proportion of female ophthalmologists over time, parity by sex has yet to be attained. Greater awareness of disparities and strategies to mitigate them may help equalize representation.