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Gender gap in chemistry journals hasn’t improved in 15 years

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla, special to C&EN
August 23, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 32


The percentages of female first and corresponding authors of papers in chemistry journals haven’t increased in the last decade and a half, according to a new analysis of studies published in 15 leading chemistry journals since 2005. Adam D. Cotton and Ian B. Seiple of the University of California, San Francisco, published the analysis, which has not been peer reviewed, on the preprint server bioRxiv (2020, DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.08.194035). They found that gender disparities were highest for corresponding authors and that first authors of a given paper were more likely to be female if the corresponding author was also a woman. Out of the journals studied, ACS Chemical Biology had the highest representation of women authors, with about 35% of its papers listing a female first author and 18% ­listing female corresponding authors (ACS also publishes C&EN). Medicinal chemistry journals usually had markedly higher representation of female authors than other chemistry subdisciplines, a trend that may be due to different contributing factors to authorship in academia and industry, the study suggests. Most chemistry journals also list significantly more men than women on their editorial boards, the analysis found.


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