Gender distribution of authors in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2010-2014



Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title/Conference Publication

Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association


American Physical Therapy Association


San Antonio, TX

Conference Dates

February 15, 2017-February 18, 2017

Date of Presentation



Purpose/Hypothesis : Academic physical therapy often requires publication for early career success. Gender patterns in publication have not yet been assessed in the orthopedic and sports physical therapy journals. The purpose of this study was to assess the relative representation of women and men as authors in the peer-reviewed orthopedic and sports physical therapy literature. We hypothesized that there would be more male authors and first authors than female authors and first authors.

Number of Subjects : 2,382 author entries were eligible for analysis.

Materials/Methods : The author index of the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) was analyzed for gender, article type, status as first author, number of article authors, and author credentials. Data was entered by one rater and checked by a second rater. Two raters discerned author gender using web searches as a tiebreaker. Frequencies, odds ratios, and chi square analyses were calculated to assess the relative effect of gender on first authorship stratified by article type. The median test was used to assess the number of authors listed for articles with female and male first authors, respectively.

Results : Data was not readily available to verify gender for 228 author entries. Thus, 2,154 entries were analyzed. Women accounted for 33.3% of author entries overall during the observation period (n=724). Women were significantly less likely to serve as authors of editorials [OR]: .382; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: .164-.888; p<.05), but significantly more likely to serve as first authors on research reports (OR: 1.55, 95%CI: 1.20-2.02, p=.001). No women served as first authors of clinical practice guidelines published during the observation period. There were no significant differences in the relative proportion of authors between genders for other article types. Compared to male authors, female author entries were significantly more likely to have a DPT degree, board certified specialization in either Orthopaedic Physical Therapy or Sports Physical Therapy, fellowship status with the AAOMPT, and certification as a strength and conditioning specialist. Female author entries were significantly less likely to list a MD degree. There were not significant differences in relative odds of listing a research doctorate in the author entry between genders. There was no significant difference in median number of authors listed on articles with women as first authors (median: 5, IQR: 3-6) and men as first authors (median: 5, IQR: 3-6), respectively.

Conclusions : Data from this sample suggests female authors may be under-represented in the orthopedic and sports physical therapy literature overall, but women’s roles as first authors still appear impactful. Additional verification of gender is required to account for missing entries.

Clinical Relevance : Equitable opportunities for successful publishing in academic orthopedic and sports physical therapy are important to ensure early career success for women, which in turn can promote representative professional role models for student physical therapists.

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