Development of bibliometric indicators to measure women’s contribution to scientific publications

January 2018

This report presents a promising approach to measure the proportion of women’s authorship in scientific publications and to develop other indicators related to the participation of women in science. This approach uses the given name and surname of each author to determine the probability of the author being a man or a woman. The approach is highly accurate for U.S. authors, enabling the computation of robust indicators at highly disaggregated levels. The U.S. can also be compared with other leading countries at a more aggregated level. Results show that the proportion of scientific authorship by women is increasing globally and in the majority of countries.

This report also shows that the proportion of women scientific authors is already high in some disciplines, mainly in the domains of health sciences and social sciences. Conversely, women scientific authors are less represented in disciplines within the domains of economics, applied sciences and natural sciences (although within most of these disciplines, the proportion of women scientific authors is increasing faster than the average across all disciplines combined).


Note: This work was funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of NCSES or the NSF. The analysis for this research was conducted by SRI International on behalf of NSF’s NCSES under contract number NSFDACS1063289.

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