Gender disparities in research productivity among 9952 academic physicians
The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Send correspondence to Jean Anderson Eloy, MD, FACS, Associate Professor and Vice Chairman, Director of Rhinology and Sinus Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, UMDNJ–New Jersey Medical School, 90 Bergen St., Suite 8100, Newark, NJ 07103. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The number of women in medicine has increased considerably over the past 3 decades, and they now comprise approximately half of medical school matriculants. We examine whether gender disparities in research productivity are present throughout various specialties and compare these findings to those previously described among otolaryngologists.
Research productivity, measured by the h-index, was calculated for 9,952 academic physicians representing 34 medical specialties. Additionally, trends in how rate of research productivity changed throughout different career stages were compared.
Women were underrepresented at the level of professor and in positions of departmental leadership relative to their representation among assistant and associate professors. Male faculty had statistically higher research productivity both overall (H = 10.3 ±0.14 vs. 5.6 ± 0.14) and at all academic ranks. For the overall sample, men and women appeared to have equivalent rates of research productivity. In internal medicine, men had higher early-career productivity, while female faculty had productivity equaling and even surpassing that of their male colleagues beyond 20 to 25 years. Men and women had equivalent productivity in surgical specialties throughout their careers, and similar rates in pediatrics until 25 to 30 years.
Female academic physicians have decreased research productivity relative to men, which may be one factor contributing to their underrepresentation at the level of professor and departmental leader relative to their proportions in junior academic ranks. Potential explanations may include fewer woman physicians in the age groups during which higher academic ranks are attained, greater family responsibilities, and greater involvement in clinical service and educational contributions.
Level of Evidence
N/A. Laryngoscope, 123:1865–1875, 2013