Research Papers:

Gendermetrics of cancer research: results from a global analysis on lung cancer

Michael H.K. Bendels _, Dörthe Brüggmann, Norman Schöffel and David A. Groneberg

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:101911-101921. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22089

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Michael H.K. Bendels1, Dörthe Brüggmann1,2, Norman Schöffel1 and David A. Groneberg1

1Division of Computational Medicine, The Institute of Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence to:

Michael H.K. Bendels, email: [email protected]

Keywords: sex, bibliometry, academic, authorship, citation

Received: July 21, 2017     Accepted: August 25, 2017     Published: October 26, 2017


Background: Cancer research is critically dependent on a continuous recruitment of junior research staff that devotes its academic life not only to clinical duties but also to basic and translational research. The present study aims to elucidate the success concerning gender equality in cancer research in the last decade (from 2008 to 2016) with lung cancer as the target parameter.

Materials and Methods: On the basis of the Gendermetrics Platform, a total of 19,724 articles related to lung cancer research were analyzed. The key method was the combined analysis of the proportion of female authorships and the female-to-male odds ratio for first, co- and last authorships. The distribution of prestigious authorships was measured by the Prestige Index.

Results: 31.3% of all authorships and 35.2% of the first, 32.2% of the co- and 22.1% of the last authorships were held by women. The corresponding female-to-male odds ratio is 1.22 (CI: 1.18–1.27) for first, 1.19 (CI: 1.16–1.23) for co- and 0.59 (CI: 0.57–0.61) for last authorships. Women are underrepresented at prestigious authorships compared to men (Prestige Index = −0.22). The female underrepresentation accentuates in articles with many authors that attract the highest citation rates.

Conclusions: While the current system promotes early career promotion of women, men still outnumber women in leadership positions. However, this male-female career dichotomy has been narrowed in the last decade and will likely be further reduced in the next decade.

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