Gender balance in research: new analytical report reveals uneven progress

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There is widespread agreement that fostering diversity is integral to innovation in research, and gender equality is key to achieving this. Critical issues related to gender disparity and bias must be examined by sound studies to support a data-informed approach to implementing interventions and policy related to gender inequality.

The report Gender in the Global Research Landscape was produced by Elsevier in partnership with global experts to provide an analytical framework for better understanding the role of gender within the structure of the global research enterprise. Based on 20 years of data from Scopus and ScienceDirect – across 12 geographies and all 27 Scopus subject areas – the report is an evidence-based examination of global research performance through a gender lens.The report employs a unique gender disambiguation methodology and is based on analyses of Scopus and ScienceDirect data conducted by Elsevier’s. Scopus Author Profiles were combined with gender-name data from social media, applied onomastics, and Wikipedia. The disciplinary breadth of the Scopus database was used to assess changes across a wide range of subject areas over time.The aim of the report is to provide institutions, funders, governments and other stakeholders with data-driven insights and guidance on gender research and gender equality policy.

Key Findings

  • The percentage of women among researchers and inventors has increased over the past 20 years.
  • Although women tend to publish fewer research articles than men, their articles are cited or downloaded at similar rates.
  • The proportion of patent applications with at least one woman among their inventors tends to be higher than the proportion of women among inventors.
  • Women are slightly less likely than men to collaborate across academic and corporate sectors on research articles.
  • Women are generally less internationally mobile than men; women are less likely to collaborate internationally on research papers.
  • Health and Life Sciences fields of research are found to have the highest representation of women, while Physical Sciences are dominated by men.


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