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COVID-19 Amplifies Gender Disparities in Research

Published time: 11 June 2020

Authors: Goran Muric, Kristina Lerman, Emilio Ferrara


Early evidence suggests that women, including female researchers, are disproportionately affected by the \mbox{COVID-19} pandemic, with negative consequences to their productivity. Here, we test this hypothesis by analyzing the proportion of male and female researchers that publish scientific papers during the pandemic. We use data from biomedical preprint servers and Springer-Nature journals to show that the fraction of women publishing during the pandemic drops significantly across disciplines and research topics, after controlling for temporal trends. The impact is particularly pronounced for biomedical papers related to COVID-19 research. Further, by geocoding author’s affiliations, we show that gender disparities are exacerbated in poorer countries, even though these countries had less of a gender gap in research prior to the pandemic. Our results illustrate how exceptional events like a global pandemic can further amplify gender inequalities in research. Our work could inform fairer scientific evaluation practices, especially for early-career female researchers who may be disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

COVID-19 amplifies gender disparities in research



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