Gender and Authorship in Pediatric Critical Care Randomized Control Trials
SourcePediatric Critical Care Medicine, 21, 12, (2020), pp. 1035-1041
Article / Letter to editor
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Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
SubjectRadboudumc 11: Renal disorders RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVES: To examine the gender distribution of authorship of pediatric critical care randomized control trials. DATA SOURCES: The 415 randomized control trials in pediatric critical care published before 2019. STUDY SELECTION: We included all randomized control trials enrolling children in a PICU. We used PICUtrials.net, which uses comprehensive search strategies of multiple databases, to identify published randomized control trials. DATA EXTRACTION: We manually extracted the name and profession of each listed author from each publication and classified each author as male or female based on their name. RESULTS: We included 2,146 authors and were able to classify 1,888 (88%) as men or women. Overall, 38% of authors were women, this varied with the authorship position: 37% of first, 38% of middle, and 25% of last authors were women (p < 0.001). The three most common professions were physician (63%), nonclinician (11%), and nurse (6%)-of which 30%, 45%, and 97%, respectively, were women. The percentage of female authorship overall has increased from 28% in 1985-1989 to 39% in 2015-2018 (p for trend = 0.004). There were no significant differences in the characteristics of randomized control trials published with a female first or last author versus those with both male first and last authors with respect to the median number of children randomized (60 vs. 50; p = 0.41), multicentred trials (17% vs. 24%; p = 0.12), trials at low risk of bias (50% vs. 66%; p = 0.26), reporting any funding (55% vs. 51%; p = 0.66), or median number of citations per year (1.5 vs. 2.4; p = 0.09). CONCLUSIONS: Although increasing over time, the percentage of researchers publishing pediatric critical care randomized control trials who are women still lags behind the percentage clinicians who are women. Trials that female researchers publish are similar in characteristics and impact as male researchers. Further work should identify barriers to gender diversity and potential solutions in pediatric critical care research.
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