Mailman MPH Student Co-Authors Research in JAMA

March 28, 2014

While the representation of women as authors of academic publications has been on the rise, little was known about the number of women who led clinical trial research in oncology publications. A study co-authored by Nicholas Moloci in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues at the University of Michigan analyzed over 5,000 PubMed citations designated as controlled trial or clinical trial to determine the gender of first and corresponding authors as well as study sponsorship. The findings are published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Using a combination of oncology-related search criteria and keywords, the authors conducted an analysis of eligible articles and reported that among 2498 eligible articles published between 2001 and 2011, 76.6% of the first authors and 80.5 % of the corresponding authors were predominantly men. Women were 16.3% to 26.4% of all first authors and 16.7% to 24.0% of all corresponding authors in a given year. These distributions did not change significantly over time.

Research sponsored by industry or the U.S. government composed most of the collaborative clinical trials and more than half (57.3%) of the studies. Industry sponsorship increased from 35.8% in 2001 to 63.0% in 2011. Among all the U.S. government–sponsored publications, 29.0% reported a woman as first author and 29.3% had a female corresponding author, compared to the non-U.S. government sponsored research rates of 18.7% and 15.1%, respectively. Among industry-sponsored research published during the 10 years studied, women accounted for 18.9 % of first authors; 15.8% had a woman corresponding author.

The authors were supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and grants from the NIH, American Cancer Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the Burroughs-Wellcome/Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine.