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October 21, 2021 Thursday 11:32:40 AM IST

Disappearance of Women researchers in Authorship during Pandemic

A team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), in Switzerland, in collaboration with BMJ Publishing Group, have shown that women researchers less frequently occupy their authorship positions, especially in the period of pandemic. When an article is published in a scientific journal, three authorship positions indicate who the study’s principal researchers are: first author, last author and corresponding author. These positions are used for decision-making, particularly in the evaluation of scientific careers and the awarding of possible promotions. In the time of pandemic, the women researchers tend to occupy especially as last authors, a position reserved to senior scientists. This inequality increased considerably during the first wave of the pandemic, with a decrease of almost 20% in the number of women first and corresponding authors. This may be due to lockdowns were in women researchers had to adapt their academic duties and shoulder more domestic tasks and homeschooling.

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