By staff writers

March 12, 2018 -- The number of published radiology research studies led by female authors has risen exponentially since 1970, but this growth rate has slowed down significantly in recent years, according to a new study in Academic Radiology.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine reviewed the authorship of articles published in Radiology and the American Journal of Roentgenology between 1970 and 2016. They found that female physicians comprised 23.5% of first authors, 22.2% of corresponding authors, and 15.2% of senior authors over the study period (Acad Radiol, February 12, 2018).

For Radiology publications, the group observed a 31% increase in female first authors, a 16.5% increase in corresponding authors, and a 16.5% increase in senior authors over the nearly five-decade period. For AJR publications, there was an increase of 32.2% in female first authors, 24.3% in corresponding authors, and 13.5% in senior authors.

Upon closer examination, however, the investigators discovered that the rate of increase in female first and corresponding authorship was 47% lower between 2000 and 2016 than it was previously, from 1970 to 2000.

This curbing of academic productivity in radiology research by women may be tied to the reduction in growth of female radiology faculty and trainees, according to the authors. Lead author Dr. Erin O'Connor said in a statement that more should be done to encourage women to pursue careers in academic radiology.

Indeed, women remain underrepresented at the associate professor and professor level, as well as in upper-level radiology department administration, according to the researchers. While there was a substantial increase in the proportion of female radiology faculty and radiology trainees from 1970 to 2016, the proportion of female medical students grew much more rapidly.

Change in No. of women in radiology, medical school
  1970 2016
Proportion of female full-time radiology faculty positions 8.6% 30.2%
Proportion of female radiology trainees 19.2% 26.7%
Proportion of female medical students 9% 48%

Copyright © 2018

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