Although more women are entering academic medicine, they are less likely to be recognized as leaders, receive full professorship positions, or be considered experts. Journal article citations are a key measure of scholarly impact in the field and are often used in promotion decisions, raising the question whether a gender disparity in citations exists. A new study in JAMA Network Open from LDI Fellows Paula Chatterjee and Rachel M. Werner reveals that articles by women in high-impact medical journals are cited far less frequently than similar articles written by men, especially when women wrote together as primary and senior authors.  

Original research articles written by women had fewer median citations than those written by men as primary authors (36 vs. 54 citations) and as senior authors (37 vs. 51 citations). Articles with women as both primary and senior authors had about half as many median citations as those authored with men as both primary and senior author (33 vs. 59 citations). The study results suggest that women are less likely to receive recognition for high-impact research. These gender gaps in citations could potentially hinder the professional advancement of women in the field. As Chatterjee and Werner note, “We must focus on ensuring that women in academic medicine have a level playing field that equally values and promotes their successes.”