Female first authorship in ophthalmology increased during pandemic – Healio

August 05, 2022

1 min read


Kalavar M, et al. Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on authorship gender disparities in the ophthalmology literature. Presented at: American Society of Retina Specialists annual meeting; July 13-16, 2022; New York.

Kalavar reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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NEW YORK — The gender gap in the authorship of scientific publications persists, but a study found an increase in female first authorship during the COVID-19 pandemic for overall articles and research articles in ophthalmology.

In a poster presented at the American Society of Retina Specialists annual meeting, Meghana Kalavar, MD, and colleagues from Ohio State University summarized the results of the cross-sectional analysis of articles published between July and September 2020 during the pandemic and matched articles published between July and September 2019 before the pandemic. The journals used were Ophthalmology, JAMA Ophthalmology and American Journal of Ophthalmology. An online gender determination tool analyzed the gender of first and last authors.

When comparing before the pandemic to during the pandemic, there was no significant difference in the average number of publications per male and female author, but the percentage of female first authors increased significantly from 32% before the pandemic to 40% during the pandemic (P = .01). A similar trend was noted when analyzing research articles alone: Female first authors were 31% before the pandemic and 43% during the pandemic (P = .02). No significant increase was noted in last authorship and in the authorship of editorials.

“Given the average number of publications per author did not increase, this likely means there was an increase in new female first authors,” the study authors wrote. “A potential explanation could be decreased elective procedures, increased virtual rotations and more time off for clinical duties, allowing for more dedicated research time.”