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Women are credited less than men for their work in the sciences, new research finds

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
9/23/21- BOSTON, MA - Sheila Sossavi, left, and Joseph Labrador, both students in the bioengineering measurement, experimentation, and statistics course, work on a lab assignment in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex.

Women who are part of research teams publishing scientific works in labs across the U.S. are less likely to be credited for their contributions than their male counterparts, according to new research out of Northeastern University. Controlling for, among other things, role, research experience and time spent on a project, researchers found that women are 13% less likely than men to be credited as authors on articles and 58% less likely than men to be credited on patents. Researchers, including Matthew Ross, associate professor jointly appointed to the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics at Northeastern University, analyzed two separate datasets during the research. 

The first included large-scale administrative data from research teams, their scientific output and attribution of credit, which showed that women are “significantly less likely” to be named on published articles or patents compared with their peers. The second included responses from an informal survey of 2,660 men and women about their experiences of authorship—and whether they felt they were discriminated against in not being credited for their work. 

“We asked scientists around the country if they had ever worked on a project and hadn’t been named on the paper,” Ross says. “What we found from this completely separate source of data is that female scientists reported contributing to papers they were left off of just as much if not more than men.”

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

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