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Journal Articles Medrxiv : the Preprint Server For Health Sciences Year : 2024

Assessment of gender and geographical bias in the editorial decision-making process of biomedical journals: A Case-Control study.

Angèle Gayet-Ageron
Khaoula Ben Messaoud
Mark Oliver Richards
Cyril Jaksic
Julien Gobeill
Jeevanthi Liyanapathirana
  • Function : Author
Luc Mottin
Patrick Ruch
Zoe Mariot
Alexandra Calmy
Julia Friedman
  • Function : Author
Leonard Leibovici
  • Function : Author
Sara Schroter

Abstract

Objectives: To assess whether the gender (primary) and geographical affiliation (post hoc) of the first and/or last authors of manuscripts is associated with publication decisions after controlling for known confounders. Design: Case-control (1:1) study. Setting: Two large general medical journals and 20 specialist journals. Participants: Original peer reviewed research manuscripts submitted between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2019. Main outcomes measures and predictor: Manuscripts accepted (cases) and rejected (controls) were compared between women and men first authors (main predictor), and between women and men last authors (secondary predictor). Results: Of 7,000 included manuscripts 6,724 (96.1%) first and 6,768 (96.7%) last authors gender were identified; 3,056 (43.7%) and 2,214 (32.7%) were women, respectively. The proportion of women first and last authors were respectively 46.7% (n=1,571) and 32.3% (n=1,093) among cases and 44.2% (n=1,485) and 33.1% (n=1,121) among controls. In univariate analysis, being a woman first author increased the likelihood of acceptance for publication (odds ratio 1.11; 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.22). After adjustment for study attributes, then post-hoc variables, the association between the first author gender and acceptance for publication became non-significant 1.04 (0.94 to 1.16). The likelihood of acceptance for publication was significantly lower for first authors affiliated to Asia 0.58 (0.48 to 0.70) compared to Europe, and for first author affiliated to upper middle income 0.61 (0.47 to 0.78) and lower middle and low-income 0.65 (0.45 to 0.93) compared to high income countries. Compared to papers where both first and last authors were from the same country, acceptance for publication was significantly higher when both authors were affiliated to different countries from the same geographical and income groups 1.39 (1.09 to 1.77), to different countries, different geographical but same income groups 1.45 (1.14 to 1.84), or to different income groups 1.59 (1.20 to 2.11). The study attributes (design, and funding) were also independently associated with acceptance for publication. Conclusions: The absence of gender inequalities during the editorial decision-making process is reassuring. However, the underrepresentation of first authors affiliated to Asia and low-income countries in manuscripts accepted for publication indicates poor representation of global scientists opinion and supports growing demands for improving diversity in biomedical research.

Dates and versions

hal-04510221 , version 1 (18-03-2024)

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Angèle Gayet-Ageron, Khaoula Ben Messaoud, Mark Oliver Richards, Cyril Jaksic, Julien Gobeill, et al.. Assessment of gender and geographical bias in the editorial decision-making process of biomedical journals: A Case-Control study.. Medrxiv : the Preprint Server For Health Sciences, 2024, ⟨10.1101/2024.03.15.24304220⟩. ⟨hal-04510221⟩
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