Representation of women in high-impact journals

There has recently been a series of papers in various journals, looking at the proportion of high-impact papers with women as lead authors. This article is a good starting point to track the discussion, and it is apparent that generally women are less represented in high-impact journals than would be expected based on the proportion of women academics and recipients of high profile grants. Here’s an extract of the article:

“We began by looking at first authors (…). We expected over 40 percent to be women, similar to the percentage of women postdocs in neuroscience in the U.S. and Europe. Instead, fewer than 25 percent first authors in the journals Nature and Science were women. Our findings were similar for last authors (…). We expected the numbers to match large National Institutes of Health grants, (…) 30 percent are awarded to women – comparable to the proportion of women tenure-track faculty in neuroscience. The proportion of women last authors was half what we expected – just over 15 percent of last authors in Science and Nature were women.”

Potential reasons to explain include not only systemic bias in the publishing pipeline, but also a potential tendency for women to be more conservative when evaluating their chances of making it past the very high rejection rates of such journals. This last one has been raised in other contexts as well, but always sounds slightly circular to me. If women have less chance of making it into those journals due to implicit bias, then academically successful women quickly learn to avoid submiting to those journals to avoid delays in publishing their work.

Upcoming Be Inspired! Lecture

The Eleanor Glanville Centre’s next Be Inspired! Lecture will take place on Tuesday 22nd May and will be presented by Professor Kerstin Meints from the School of Psychology.

 ‘Research with children and animals – from assessment to impact’


This lecture will showcase the fruitfulness of moving between basic and applied research. In particular, I will discuss how research in child development and human-animal interaction can lead to the creation of assessment tools, interventions and impact. This lecture will focus on children’s development of categorisation and language and early assessment tools as well as on human-animal interaction and methods and tools to improve safe and beneficial interactions.

  • Tuesday 22nd May  
  • 17:00 pm 
  • SLB0006 Steven Langton Building

Professor Meints has received a range of prestigious research grants, for example by the Leverhulme Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), MARS-WALTHAM, and others.

She has recently been presented with the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) Suffrage Women in Science Award which celebrates women in science for their scientific achievement, their ability to inspire others, and for encouraging women to enter scientific subjects and to stay in those fields.

The lecture will be followed by a wine reception.

This lecture is free to attend but prior booking is essential

To get your tickets click here