Gender differences in submission behavior exacerbate publication disparities in elite journals

Authors : Isabel Basson, Chaoqun Ni, Giovanna Badia, Nathalie Tufenkji, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Vincent Larivière

Women are particularly underrepresented in journals of the highest scientific impact, with substantial consequences for their careers. While a large body of research has focused on the outcome and the process of peer review, fewer articles have explicitly focused on gendered submission behavior and the explanations for these differences.

In our study of nearly five thousand active authors, we find that women are less likely to report having submitted papers and, when they have, to submit fewer manuscripts, on average, than men. Women were more likely to indicate that they did not submit their papers (in general and their subsequently most cited papers) to Science, Nature, or PNAS because they were advised not to.

In the aggregate, no statistically significant difference was observed between men and women in how they rated the quality of their work. Nevertheless, regardless of discipline, women were more likely than men to indicate that their “work was not ground-breaking or sufficiently novel” as a rationale for not submitting to one of the listed prestigious journals. Men were more likely than women to indicate that the “work would fit better in a more specialized journal.”

We discuss the implications of these findings and interventions that can serve to mitigate the disparities caused by gendered differences in submission behavior.


The gendered nature of authorship

Authors : Chaoqun Ni, Elise Smith, Haimiao Yuan, Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Authorship is the primary form of symbolic capital in science. Despite this, authorship is rife with injustice and malpractice, with women expressing concerns regarding the fair attribution of credit. Based on an international survey, we examine gendered practices in authorship communication, disagreement, and fairness.

Our results demonstrate that women were more likely to experience authorship disagreements and experience them more often. Their contributions to research papers were more often devalued by both men and women.

Women were more likely to discuss authorship with coauthors at the beginning of the project, whereas men were more likely to determine authorship unilaterally at the end. Women perceived that they received less credit than deserved, while men reported the opposite.

This devaluation of women’s work in science creates cumulative disadvantages in scientific careers. Open discussion regarding power dynamics related to gender is necessary to develop more equitable distribution of credit for scientific labor.

URL : The gendered nature of authorship


Investigating the division of scientific labor using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)

Authors : Vincent Larivière, David Pontille, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Contributorship statements were introduced by scholarly journals in the late 1990s to provide more details on the specific contributions made by authors to research papers.

After more than a decade of idiosyncratic taxonomies by journals, a partnership between medical journals and standards organizations has led to the establishment, in 2015, of the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT), which provides a standardized set of 14 research contributions.

Using the data from Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals over the 2017–2018 period (N = 30,054 papers), this paper analyzes how research contributions are divided across research teams, focusing on the association between division of labor and number of authors, and authors’ position and specific contributions.

It also assesses whether some contributions are more likely to be performed in conjunction with others and examines how the new taxonomy provides greater insight into the gendered nature of labor division. The paper concludes with a discussion of results with respect to current issues in research evaluation, science policy, and responsible research practices.

URL : Investigating the division of scientific labor using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)


The diverse niches of megajournals: Specialism within generalism

Authors: Kyle Siler, Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Over the past decade, megajournals have expanded in popularity and established a legitimate niche in academic publishing. Leveraging advantages of digital publishing, megajournals are characterized by large publication volume, broad interdisciplinary scope, and peer‐review filters that select primarily for scientific soundness as opposed to novelty or originality.

These publishing innovations are complementary and competitive vis‐à‐vis traditional journals. We analyze how megajournals (PLOS One, Scientific Reports) are represented in different fields relative to prominent generalist journals (Nature, PNAS, Science) and “quasi‐megajournals” (Nature Communications, PeerJ).

Our results show that both megajournals and prominent traditional journals have distinctive niches, despite the similar interdisciplinary scopes of such journals.

These niches—defined by publishing volume and disciplinary diversity—are dynamic and varied over the relatively brief histories of the analyzed megajournals. Although the life sciences are the predominant contributor to megajournals, there is variation in the disciplinary composition of different megajournals.

The growth trajectories and disciplinary composition of generalist journals—including megajournals—reflect changing knowledge dissemination and reward structures in science.

URL : The diverse niches of megajournals: Specialism within generalism


Gender and international diversity improves equity in peer review

Authors : Dakota Murray, Kyle Siler, Vincent Lariviére, Wei Mun Chan, Andrew M. Collings, Jennifer Raymond, Cassidy R Sugimoto

The robustness of scholarly peer review has been challenged by evidence of disparities in publication outcomes based on author’s gender and nationality. To address this, we examine the peer review outcomes of 23,873 initial submissions and 7,192 full submissions that were submitted to the biosciences journal eLife between 2012 and 2017.

Women and authors from nations outside of North America and Europe were underrepresented both as gatekeepers (editors and peer reviewers) and last authors. We found a homophilic interaction between the demographics of the gatekeepers and authors in determining the outcome of peer review; that is, gatekeepers favor manuscripts from authors of the same gender and from the same country.

The acceptance rate for manuscripts with male last authors was significantly higher than for female last authors, and this gender inequity was greatest when the team of reviewers was all male; mixed-gender gatekeeper teams lead to more equitable peer review outcomes.

Similarly, manuscripts were more likely to be accepted when reviewed by at least one gatekeeper with the same national affiliation as the corresponding author. Our results indicated that homogeneity between author and gatekeeper gender and nationality is associated with the outcomes of scientific peer review.

We conclude with a discussion of mechanisms that could contribute to this effect, directions for future research, and policy implications. Code and anonymized data have been made available at

URL : Gender and international diversity improves equity in peer review


Mesurer la science

Auteurs/Authors : Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

L’ensemble de la communauté scientifique réclame depuis plusieurs années des indicateurs fiables permettant de mesurer les répercussions de la recherche. La ferveur inégalée autour de la mesure de l’influence de la recherche, combinée avec les nouveaux modes de diffusion des connaissances à l’ère numérique, a révolu­tionné le domaine de la scientométrie.

Il s’agit là d’une discipline qui comprend toutes les façons dont nous collectons les documents savants et analysons quantitativement leur production ainsi que leurs usages, des citations aux tweets. Les données et les indicateurs ainsi recueillis sont utilisés pour comprendre la science, stimuler la recherche ou distribuer les ressources.

Curieusement, il n’existe aucun ouvrage qui explique les fonde­ments historiques, les concepts et les sources de la scientométrie, ou qui en fournirait une critique éclairée ou même qui formulerait des recommandations pour un usage optimal. D’où l’importance de celui-ci.

À sa façon, chacun est un acteur de la société du savoir et devrait se soucier des outils qui aident à guider son évolution : c’est pourquoi ce livre s’adresse à tous, savants comme profanes.


Vanishing industries and the rising monopoly of universities in published research

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Benoit Macaluso, Philippe Mongeon, Kyle Siler, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Anecdotes abound regarding the decline of basic research in industrial and governmental settings, but very little empirical evidence exists about the phenomenon. This article provides a systematic and historical analysis of the contribution of various institutional sectors to knowledge production at the world and country levels across the past four decades.

It highlights a dramatic decline in the diffusion of basic research by industrial and governmental sectors across all countries—with a corresponding increase in the share from universities—as well as an increase of partnerships between universities and other sectors.

Results also shows an increase in the relative share of industries in applied research, as measured through patents. Such divergence in university and industry research activities may hinder industries’ ability to translate basic knowledge into technological innovation, and could lead to a growing misalignment between doctoral training and future job expectations.

Industries and universities must rethink strategies for partnerships and publishing to maximize scientific progress and to ensure the greatest gains for society.

URL : Vanishing industries and the rising monopoly of universities in published research