The authorship in nursing literature: an against trend? Authorship in nursing literature

Main Article Content

Elsa Vitale
Lorenzo Moretti
Angela Notarnicola
Francesca Di Dio
Francesco Rifino
Biagio Moretti


Database, Female, Gender, Male, Sex Distribution


Background and Aim of the work: Women graduated and engaged in the scientific world are in increasing numbers. The present study aimed to analyze the gender difference in nursing scientific publication and to understand the trend in nursing science is the same or different to that reported in other scientific disciplines. Methods: We considered the first name in the authorship of the highest impacted factor journals related of year 2019 in the Web of Science database for the period 2015-2019, as: the International Journal of Nursing Studies (IJNS) and the Nursing Outlook (NO). Considering the proposed economic classification of the “World bank”, weassessed the gender of the first authors searched with the relative degree of wealth of their countries thanks to the chi square test. Results: From 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2019 a total of 1171 first authors were identified. Of these, 776 (66.27%) belonged to the IJNS and 395 (33.73%) to the NO. The female gender was most representative than the male gender into two journals. In fact, 982 (83.9%) citations belong to female researchers while 189 (16.1%) citations belong to male researchers. However, the same trend is not evaluated in the Italian scenario where the male gender predominates over the female one in scientific production. Conclusions: Nursing scientific production shows a counter trend compared to other scientific disciplines, highlighting a predominance of the female sex over the male one. This difference is more pronounced in the more economically developed countries.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 77 | PDF Downloads 59


1. Conley D, Stadmark J. Gender matters: A call to commission more women writers. Nature 2012; 488: 590.
2. Moss-Racusin C, Dovidio J, Brescoll V, Graham M, Handelsman J. Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2012; 109: 1647416479.
3. Ceci SJ, Williams WM. Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2011; 108: 3157-3162.
4. Jenkinson A, Nthenge S. Work-life balance of nursing faculty in research- and practice-focused doctoral programs. Nursing Outlook 2015; 63: 621-631.
5. Ross D. Challenges for Men in a Female Dominated Environment. Links to Health and Social Care 2017; 2(1):4-20.
6. Law 25 February 1971, n. 124 “Extension to male personnel of the profession of professional nurse, organization of the related schools and transitional rules for the training of direct care staff”. Available from: Accessed: 15 February 2020.
7. D.P.R. 225/1974. Amendments to the Royal Decree of 2 May 1940, n. 1310, on the duties of professional nurses and general nurses. Available from: Accessed: 30 Mars 2020.
8. D. M. 739/94 Regulation concerning the identification of the figure and the related professional profile of the nurse. Available from: Accessed: 1 February 2020.
9. Law 42 / 99. Provisions relating to health professions. Available from: Accessed: 15 Mars 2020
10. Code of Conduct for Nursing Professions. FNOPI 2019. Available from: Accessed: 14 January 2020.
11. Plan for the application and dissemination of gender medicine (in implementation of Law 3/2018). Available from: Accessed: 20 February 2020.
12. Shields L, Hall J, Mamun AA. The “gender gap” in authorship in nursing literature. J R Soc Med 2011; 104:457-464. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110015
13. George A. Human resources for health: a gender analysis. Background paper prepared for the Women and Gender Equity Knowledge Network and the Health Systems Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. June, 2007. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2007.
14. Clark J, Zuccula L, Horton R. Women in science, medicine, and global health: call for papers. Lancet 2017; 390: 2423–24.
15. Holman L, Stuart-Fox D, Hauser CE. The gender gap in science: How long until women are equally represented? PLOS Biol 2018; 16(4):e2004956. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2004956
16. Shannon G, Jansen M, Williams K, Caceres C, Motta A, Odhiambo A, Eleveld A, Mannell J. Gender equality in science, medicine, and global health: where are we at and why does it matter? Lancet 2019; 393(9):560-69.
17. Tracey C, Nicholl H. The multifaceted influence of gender in career progress in nursing. J Nurs Manag 2007; 15:677-82.
18. World Bank list of economies 2018. Available from: Accessed: 1 April 2020.
19. Magar V, Heidari S, Zamora G, Coates A, Simelela PN, Swaminathan S. Gender mainstreaming within WHO: not without equità and human rights. The Lancet 2019; 393(10182):1678-1679.
20. Dunlop MJ. Is a science of caring possible? Journal of Advanced Nursing 1986; 11: 661-670.
21. Rafferty A-M. The Politics of Nursing Knowledge. London: Routledge 1996.
22. Evans JA. “Men nurses: a historical and feminist perspective”. Journal of Advanced Nursing 2004; 47(3): 321-328. Available from: Accessed: 30 Mars 2020.
23. Brown B. Men in nursing: Re-evaluating masculinities, re-evaluating gender Contemp Nurse 2009; 33:120-9.
24. Crowther AM. “Why Women should be Nurses and not Doctors”. Centre for the History of Medicine, Glasgow University 2002. Available from: Accessed: 11 February 2020.
25. McMurry TB. “The Image of Male Nurses and Nursing Leadership Mobility”. Nursing Forum 2011; 46(1): 22-28. Available from: Accessed: February 2020.
26. Pereira M, “Feminist Theory is Proper Knowledge, But?...”: The Status of Feminist Scholarship in the Academy. Feminist Theory 2012; 13(3): 283-303.
27. Heather S. Women know your limits: cultural sexism in academia. Gender and Education 2014; 26(7): 794-809.
28. Polit DF, Cheryl TA. Is there still gender bias in nursing research? An update. Research in Nursing and Health 2013; 36(1): 75-83.