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Research Letter
February 13, 2018

Gender and Byline Placement of Co-first Authors in Clinical and Basic Science Journals With High Impact Factors

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 3Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 4Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2018;319(6):610-611. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.18672

The practice of acknowledging equal contributions of 2 or more co-first authors is increasingly common.1,2 However, first author position may carry the most prestige and be important for hiring and promotion. In this study, we investigated whose name is listed first when co-first authors are of different genders.

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of all original research articles with co-first authors of different genders published in 10 journals between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2014 (Table 1). Journals with the highest impact factors were identified using the 2013 Journal Citation Reports rankings, from which the top 5 journals from the General and Internal Medicine category and the top 5 journals from 3 basic science categories (Multidisciplinary Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Research and Experimental Medicine) were selected. We identified author gender using the author’s professional web page, the United States Social Security Administration’s database (for names with 95% or more of an association with a single gender), or an online database, NamepediA (used for 2% of the authors).3,4

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