May 16, 2022

Journal Article: “Small Female Citation Advantages for US Journal Articles in Medicine”

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The article linked below was recently published by the Journal of Information Science.


Small Female Citation Advantages for US Journal Articles in Medicine


Mike Thelwall
University of Wolverhampton

Nabeil Maflahi
University of Wolverhampton


Journal of Information Science, Vol. 48, 1
DOI: 10.1177/0165551520942729


Female under-representation continues in senior roles within academic medicine, potentially influenced by a perception that female research has less citation impact. This article provides systematic evidence of (a) female participation rates from the perspective of published journal articles in 46 Scopus medical subject categories 1996–2018 and (b) gender differences in citation rates 1996–2014. The results show female proportion increases 1996–2018 in all fields and a female majority of first-authored articles in two-fifths of categories, but substantial differences between fields. A paper is 7.3 times more likely to have a female first author in Obstetrics and Gynaecology than in Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Only three fields had a female last author majority by 2018, a probable side effect of ongoing problems with appointing female leaders. Female first-authored research tended to be more cited than male first-authored research in most fields (59%), although with a maximum difference of only 5.1% (log-transformed normalised citations). In contrast, male last-authored research tends to be more cited than female last-authored research, perhaps due to cases where a senior male has attracted substantial funding for a project. These differences increase if team sizes are not accounted for in the calculations. Since female first-authored research is cited slightly more than male first-authored research, properly analysed bibliometric data considering career gaps should not disadvantage female candidates for senior roles.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.