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      Longitudinal analyses of gender differences in first authorship publications related to COVID-19


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          Concerns have been raised that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted research productivity to the disadvantage of women in academia, particularly in early career stages. In this study, we aimed to assess the pandemic’s effect on women’s COVID-19-related publishing over the first year of the pandemic.

          Methods and results

          We compared the gender distribution of first authorships for 42 898 publications on COVID-19 from 1 February 2020 to 31 January 2021 to 483 232 publications appearing in the same journals during the same period the year prior. We found that the gender gap—the percentage of articles on which men versus women were first authors—widened by 14 percentage points during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite many pertinent research fields showing near equal proportions of men and women first authors publishing in the same fields before the pandemic. Longitudinal analyses revealed that the significant initial expansions of the gender gap began to trend backwards to expected values over time in many fields. As women may have been differentially affected depending on their geography, we also assessed the gender distribution of first authorships grouped by countries and geographical areas. While we observed a significant reduction of the shares of women first authors in almost all countries, longitudinal analyses confirmed a resolving trend over time.


          The reduction in women’s COVID-19-related research output appears particularly concerning as many disciplines informing the response to the pandemic had near equal gender shares of first authorship in the year prior to the pandemic. The acute productivity drain with the onset of the pandemic magnifies deep-rooted obstacles on the way to gender equity in scientific contribution.

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          Most cited references29

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          Parents' Stress and Children's Psychological Problems in Families Facing the COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy

          Objectives: The present study aimed to explore the effect of risk factors associated with the COVID-19 outbreak experience on parents' and children's well-being. Methods: Parents of children aged between 2- and 14-years-old completed an online survey reporting their home environment conditions, any relation they had to the pandemic consequences, their difficulties experienced due to the quarantine, their perception of individual and parent-child dyadic stress, and their children's emotional and behavioral problems. Results: Results showed that the perception of the difficulty of quarantine is a crucial factor that undermines both parents' and children's well-being. Quarantine's impact on children's behavioral and emotional problems is mediated by parent's individual and dyadic stress, with a stronger effect from the latter. Parents who reported more difficulties in dealing with quarantine show more stress. This, in turn, increases the children's problems. Living in a more at-risk area, the quality of the home environment, or the relation they have with the pandemic consequences, do not have an effect on families' well-being. Conclusions: Dealing with quarantine is a particularly stressful experience for parents who must balance personal life, work, and raising children, being left alone without other resources. This situation puts parents at a higher risk of experiencing distress, potentially impairing their ability to be supportive caregivers. The lack of support these children receive in such a difficult moment may be the reason for their more pronounced psychological symptoms. Policies should take into consideration the implications of the lockdown for families' mental health, and supportive interventions for the immediate and for the future should be promoted.
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            The "gender gap" in authorship of academic medical literature--a 35-year perspective.

            Participation of women in the medical profession has increased during the past four decades, but issues of concern persist regarding disparities between the sexes in academic medicine. Advancement is largely driven by peer-reviewed original research, so we sought to determine the representation of female physician-investigators among the authors of selected publications during the past 35 years. Original articles from six prominent medical journals--the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med), the Annals of Surgery (Ann Surg), Obstetrics & Gynecology (Obstet Gynecol), and the Journal of Pediatrics (J Pediatr)--were categorized according to the sex of both the first and the senior (last listed) author. Sex was also determined for the authors of guest editorials in NEJM and JAMA. Data were collected for the years 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2004. The analysis was restricted to authors from U.S. institutions holding M.D. degrees. The sex was determined for 98.5 percent of the 7249 U.S. authors of original research with M.D. degrees. The proportion of first authors who were women increased from 5.9 percent in 1970 to 29.3 percent in 2004 (P<0.001), and the proportion of senior authors who were women increased from 3.7 percent to 19.3 percent (P<0.001) during the same period. The proportion of authors who were women increased most sharply in Obstet Gynecol (from 6.7 percent of first authors and 6.8 percent of senior authors in 1970 to 40.7 percent of first authors and 28.0 percent of senior authors in 2004) and J Pediatr (from 15.0 percent of first authors and 4.3 percent of senior authors in 1970 to 38.9 percent of first authors and 38.0 percent of senior authors in 2004) and remained low in Ann Surg (from 2.3 percent of first authors and 0.7 percent of senior authors in 1970 to 16.7 percent of first authors and 6.7 percent of senior authors in 2004). In 2004, 11.4 percent of the authors of guest editorials in NEJM and 18.8 percent of the authors of guest editorials in JAMA were women. Over the past four decades, the proportion of women among both first and senior physician-authors of original research in the United States has significantly increased. Nevertheless, women still compose a minority of the authors of original research and guest editorials in the journals studied. Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists


                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                5 April 2021
                : 11
                : 4
                [1 ]departmentDepartment of Cardiology, Angiology, Pulmonology , University Hospital Heidelberg , Heidelberg, Germany
                [2 ]German Center for Heart and Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) , Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany
                [3 ]departmentArea Management , University of Mannheim , Mannheim, Germany
                [4 ]departmentDepartment of Health Care Policy , Harvard Medical School , Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                [5 ]departmentDepartment of Medicine , Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                [6 ]National Bureau of Economic Research , Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Carolin Lerchenmüller; carolin.lerchenmueller@ 123456med.uni-heidelberg.de
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                Funded by: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000002, National Institutes of Health;
                Award ID: 1DP5OD017897
                Funded by: Joachim Herz Foundation;
                Funded by: University of Mannheim;
                Award ID: FAiR@UMA
                Health Policy
                Original research
                Custom metadata

                general medicine (see internal medicine),covid-19,health policy
                general medicine (see internal medicine), covid-19, health policy


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