Authorship in top-ranked mathematical and physical journals: Role of gender on self-perceptions and bibliographic evidence

Authors : Helena Mihaljevi, Lucía Santamaría

Despite increasing rates of women researching in math-intensive fields, publications by female authors remain underrepresented. By analyzing millions of records from the dedicated bibliographic databases zbMATH, arXiv, and ADS, we unveil the chronological evolution of authorships by women in mathematics, physics, and astronomy.

We observe a pronounced shortage of female authors in top-ranked journals, with quasi-stagnant figures in various distinguished periodicals in the first two disciplines and a significantly more equitable situation in the latter.

Additionally, we provide an interactive open-access web interface to further examine the data. To address whether female scholars submit fewer articles for publication to relevant journals or whether they are consciously or unconsciously disadvantaged by the peer review system, we also study authors’ perceptions of their submission practices and analyze around 10,000 responses, collected as part of a recent global survey of scientists.

Our analysis indicates that men and women perceive their submission practices to be similar, with no evidence that a significantly lower number of submissions by women is responsible for their underrepresentation in top-ranked journals.

According to the self-reported responses, a larger number of articles submitted to prestigious venues correlates rather with aspects associated with pronounced research activity, a well-established network, and academic seniority.