Gender disparities in shoulder and elbow publications

Sean B. Sequeira, Melissa A. Wright, Anand M. Murthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hypothesis/Background: Female representation in orthopedics, and specifically shoulder and elbow surgery, lags behind other surgical subspecialities. There has been a growing interest in recent years to better characterize, and address, gender disparities in the field. The purpose of this investigation was to characterize gender trends in authorship in the shoulder and elbow literature from 2002 to 2020. Methods: Articles published from January 2002 to December 2020 in 15 clinical orthopedic and shoulder- and elbow-specific journals were extracted from the online PubMed database. Articles that included the first name of the first and senior authors and contained keywords related to the shoulder and elbow subspecialty were included. The Genderize algorithm was used to determine each author's gender. Gender-based publication trends from 2002 to 2020 were analyzed using descriptive and significance testing as well as logistic regression. Results: 34,695 articles met inclusion criteria and 52,497 unique authors were identified. Of these unique authors, 10,175 (19.4%) were female and 42,322 (80.6%) were male. On average, each unique female author published 1.7 ± 0.1 manuscripts since 2002 and each male author published 2.5 ± 0.2 (P < .001). Female representation in shoulder and elbow publications began at 10.2% in 2002 and rose to 15.9% in 2020 (P < .001). Female representation in the lead author position began at 4.1% in 2002 and rose to 5.8% in 2020 (P = .009). Female representation in the senior author position began at 6.0% in 2002 and rose to 9.1% in 2020 (P < .001). Conclusion: Although female representation in first, senior, and general authorship lags behind male representation in the shoulder and elbow literature, female authorship has significantly increased since 2002. The same men tend to publish more frequently while the number of unique female authors surpasses the annual representation of female authorship. Efforts to improve female representation in the field of orthopedic surgery should include efforts directed at improving female representation in academic literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e613-e619
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • authorship
  • elbow
  • gender
  • Literature Review
  • publication
  • Shoulder
  • Survey Study


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