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Authorship of Italian medical literature on neuroendocrine neoplasms: any gender gap?

PURPOSE: While males have dominated the physician lines over the last decades the recent female doctors' number increasing might progressively reduce this gender gap. This might be not fully true in the academic/research area. We aimed to analyze the gender distribution of first/senior Italian authors on neuroendocrine neoplasm papers published on peer reviewed journals.

METHODS: Publications from January 2019 to September 2023 were reviewed; only papers with first and/or senior Italian authors were included. First/senior author gender, type of article, co-authorship with foreign authors were the variable analyzed.

RESULTS: 742 papers with Italian first and/or senior authors were retrieved, 449 (60.5%) multicentric, 285 (38.4%) original articles. A female author was first and senior author in 386/742 (52%) and in 228/742 (31%) papers, respectively. 150 (20.2%) papers included foreign coauthors, being an Italian female researcher first author in 50 papers (33%), senior author in 28 (18.6%). The number of Italian female first/senior authors has been increasing over the years (22 in 2019, 113 in 2022; 16 in 2019, 62 in 2022, respectively). The first/senior female authors were mainly Oncologists/Endocrinologists/Pathologists rather than Gastroenterologists/Nuclear Medicine doctors/Surgeons/Radiologists.

CONCLUSION: There has been an increase in the prevalence of female authorship of published research in the neuroendocrine setting over the last 5 years, which partially reflects the current distributions in this field, taking into account that several specialties with different gender distribution are involved. However, senior authorship continues to be primarily men. Efforts should be made to improve proportionate gender representation in both clinical and academic/research setting.

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