Professional advancement in academic plastic surgery may depend on scholarly activity. The authors evaluate gender-based publishing characteristics in three international plastic surgery journals.
A retrospective review of all articles published in 2016 in the following journals was undertaken: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, European Journal of Plastic Surgery, Annals of Surgery, and New England Journal of Medicine. Data were collected on lead author gender (first or senior author) and differences in author gender proportions, by journal, by article topic, and by geographic location were evaluated.
Overall, 2610 articles were retrieved: 34.1 percent were from plastic surgery journals, 12.8 percent were from the Annals of Surgery, and 53.1 percent were from the New England Journal of Medicine. There was a lower proportion of female lead authors among plastic surgery journals compared with the Annals of Surgery and the New England Journal of Medicine (31 percent versus 39 percent versus 39 percent; p = 0.001). There were no differences in female lead author geographic location in the Annals of Surgery or the New England Journal of Medicine; within the plastic surgery journals, there were differences (p = 0.005), including a lower proportion arising from East Asia (15 percent) and a higher proportion arising from Canada (48 percent). Within plastic surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery had the lowest proportion of female lead author (p < 0.001). The proportion of female lead author varied by article topic (p < 0.001) and was notably higher in breast (45.6 percent) and lower in head and neck/craniofacial-orientated articles (25.0 percent).
There are gender disparities in three mainstream plastic surgery journals—Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, the European Journal of Plastic Surgery—and there are lower proportions of lead female authorship compared with the Annals of Surgery and the New England Journal of Medicine. Further research should focus on understanding any geographic disparities that may exist.
Boston, Mass.; and Amsterdam, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Enschede, The Netherlands
From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School; the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery, University of Amsterdam; the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Center; the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Erasmus University; and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Medisch Spectrum Twente.
Received for publication May 25, 2017; accepted February 1, 2019.
Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article. No funding was received for this article.
Samuel J. Lin, M.D., M.B.A. 110 Francis Street, Suite 5A, Boston, Mass. 02215, firstname.lastname@example.org