Gender diversity and publication activity—an analysis of STEM in the UK

Authors : Yasaman Sarabi, Matthew Smith

Gender diversity in STEM remains a significant issue, as the field continues to be a male dominated one, despite increased attention on the subject. This article examines the interplay between gender diversity on projects funded by a major UK research council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the publication activity of a project, as measured by the average journal quality of project publication output, over a 10-year period.

The proportion of female representation and leadership on these projects remains very low. For the projects examined as part of this study, over 70% of these projects have no female representation, and less than 15% have a female lead.

This study does not find a significant relationship between gender diversity and journal quality output. This study highlights that an important avenue for future work is the development of alternative metrics to assess the performance of research projects in a discipline characterized by very low levels of gender diversity, to fully unpack the impact of project team gender diversity on project output activity.

URL : Gender diversity and publication activity—an analysis of STEM in the UK


Incentive Policies for Scientific Publications in the State Universities of Chile

Authors : Elizabeth Troncoso, Francisco Ganga-Contreras, Margarita Briceño

Most state universities in Chile (15 out of 18) have monetary incentive policies for scientific publications, but they are based on criteria that do not necessarily aim to improve institutional performance in all disciplines.

This work compares affinities and differences of these policies in three areas: (i) type of publications encouraged, (ii) beneficiaries, and (iii) monetary amounts per type of publication. It was found that the 15 universities encourage publications with WoS indexing, 13 do so for Scopus and SciELO, and 6 are open to other databases.

Only seven institutions encourage the production of books and book chapters. As expected, the 15 universities direct the incentives to their academic staff, although with different requirements, six accept non-academic staff, and only one university considers its student body. In general, the highest monetary amounts are received by WoS publications, with differentiation by quartile or impact factor of the journal.

All in all, there is a clear need to design incentive policies in universities that are more homogeneous and take into account the “quality” and “impact” of the research they publish based on different metrics that tend to provide robust analyses in the different areas of knowledge.


Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on publication dynamics and non-COVID-19 research production

Authors : Marc Raynaud, Valentin Goutaudier, Kevin Louis, Solaf Al‑Awadhi, Quentin Dubourg, Agathe Truchot, Romain Brousse, Nouredine Saleh, Alessia Giarraputo, Charlotte Debiais, Zeynep Demir, Anaïs Certain, Francine Tacafred, Esteban Cortes‑Garcia, Safia Yanes, Jessy Dagobert, Sofia Naser, Blaise Robin, Élodie Bailly, Xavier Jouven, Peter P. Reese, Alexandre Loupy


The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected health systems and medical research worldwide but its impact on the global publication dynamics and non-COVID-19 research has not been measured.

We hypothesized that the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the scientific production of non-COVID-19 research.


We conducted a comprehensive meta-research on studies (original articles, research letters and case reports) published between 01/01/2019 and 01/01/2021 in 10 high-impact medical and infectious disease journals (New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature Medicine, British Medical Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, Lancet Global Health, Lancet Public Health, Lancet Infectious Disease and Clinical Infectious Disease).

For each publication, we recorded publication date, publication type, number of authors, whether the publication was related to COVID-19, whether the publication was based on a case series, and the number of patients included in the study if the publication was based on a case report or a case series.

We estimated the publication dynamics with a locally estimated scatterplot smoothing method. A Natural Language Processing algorithm was designed to calculate the number of authors for each publication.

We simulated the number of non-COVID-19 studies that could have been published during the pandemic by extrapolating the publication dynamics of 2019 to 2020, and comparing the expected number to the observed number of studies.


Among the 22,525 studies assessed, 6319 met the inclusion criteria, of which 1022 (16.2%) were related to COVID-19 research. A dramatic increase in the number of publications in general journals was observed from February to April 2020 from a weekly median number of publications of 4.0 (IQR: 2.8–5.5) to 19.5 (IQR: 15.8–24.8) (p < 0.001), followed afterwards by a pattern of stability with a weekly median number of publications of 10.0 (IQR: 6.0–14.0) until December 2020 (p = 0.045 in comparison with April).

Two prototypical editorial strategies were found: 1) journals that maintained the volume of non-COVID-19 publications while integrating COVID-19 research and thus increased their overall scientific production, and 2) journals that decreased the volume of non-COVID-19 publications while integrating COVID-19 publications.

We estimated using simulation models that the COVID pandemic was associated with a 18% decrease in the production of non-COVID-19 research. We also found a significant change of the publication type in COVID-19 research as compared with non-COVID-19 research illustrated by a decrease in the number of original articles, (47.9% in COVID-19 publications vs 71.3% in non-COVID-19 publications, p < 0.001).

Last, COVID-19 publications showed a higher number of authors, especially for case reports with a median of 9.0 authors (IQR: 6.0–13.0) in COVID-19 publications, compared to a median of 4.0 authors (IQR: 3.0–6.0) in non-COVID-19 publications (p < 0.001).


In this meta-research gathering publications from high-impact medical journals, we have shown that the dramatic rise in COVID-19 publications was accompanied by a substantial decrease of non-COVID-19 research.

URL : Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on publication dynamics and non-COVID-19 research production


Gender gaps in research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa

Authors : Creso Sá, Summer Cowley, Magdalena Martinez, Nadiia Kachynska, Emma Sabzalieva

This study builds upon the literature documenting gender disparities in science by investigating research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in three countries. This analysis departs from both the general comparison of researchers across organizational settings and academic appointments on one hand, and the definition of “elite” by the research outcome variables on the other, which are common in previous studies.

Instead, this paper’s approach considers the stratification of scientific careers by carefully constructing matched samples of men and women holding research chairs in Canada, the United States and South Africa, along with a control group of departmental peers.

The analysis is based on a unique, hand-curated dataset including 943 researchers, which allows for a systematic comparison of successful scientists vetted through similar selection mechanisms.

Our results show that even among elite scientists a pattern of stratified productivity and recognition by gender remains, with more prominent gaps in recognition. Our results point to the need for gender equity initiatives in science policy to critically examine assessment criteria and evaluation mechanisms to emphasize multiple expressions of research excellence.

URL : Gender gaps in research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa