For a study, researchers sought to discuss first-author gender disparities and traits in abstracts presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Annual Meeting and publications that followed.
They compiled and reviewed a random sample of 100 abstracts for each year (total n = 700 abstracts) to do a cross-sectional evaluation of SAEM abstracts from 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. They utilized the 2020 SAEM grading rubric to record abstract qualities, such as the gender of the initial author. After that, they looked through 600 article papers derived from abstracts published between 1990 and 2015 in PubMed. They determined the first and last author gender on both the abstract and the publication that followed among abstracts that led to manuscript publication.
Overall, 202/695 abstracts (29%; n = 5 missing gender) had initial female authors. The proportion of female first writers rose with time (from 17% in 1990 to 35% in 2020, for example). Similar scores for abstract quality (both a median [interquartile range] of 11 ([9–12]). Overall, 42% (n = 254/600) of abstracts led to the publication of a manuscript; 39% (n = 65/202) of the first authors were women, and 44% (n = 189/493) were men (P = 0.26). For abstracts with female first authors compared to those with male first authors, the median (IQR) time from abstract to manuscript publication was longer (2 [1-3] years versus 1 [1, 2] years, P< 0.02); 77% and 78% of publications resulting from abstracts with female and male first authors, respectively, had the same first author. Male first-author abstracts changed to female first-author publications less frequently (7%, n = 14/189), but female first-author abstracts converted to male first-author manuscript publications more frequently (18%, n = 12/65).
Female first authors made up a small percentage of SAEM abstracts and the manuscript publications that came from them. Abstracts with female initial authors took longer to be published as manuscripts, and only around one in five abstracts with female first authors were eventually published as manuscripts with male first authors.