Despite the progress observed in recent years, women are still underrepresented in science worldwide, especially at top positions. Many factors contribute to women progressively leaving academia at different stages of their career, including motherhood, harassment and conscious and unconscious discrimination. Implicit bias plays a major negative role in recognition, promotions and career advancement of female scientists. Recently, a rank of the most influential scientists in the world was created based on several metrics, including the number of published papers and citations. Here, we analyzed the representation of Brazilian scientists in this rank, focusing on gender. Female Brazilian scientists are greatly underrepresented in the rank (11% in the Top 100,000; 18% in the Top 2%). Possible reasons for this observed scenario are related to the metrics used to rank scientists, which reproduce and amplify the well-known implicit bias in peer-review and citations. Male scientists have more self-citation than female scientists and positions in the rank varied when self-citations were included, suggesting that self-citation by male scientists increases their visibility. Discussions on the repercussions of such ranks are pivotal to avoid deepening the gender gap in science.
Academic productivity; gender gap; citation metrics; self-citation; women in science