Gender Disparities in Middle Authorship


  • Alexandra Fleischmann
  • Laura Van Berkel


Women increasingly occupy jobs in psychological research, but continue to face career barriers. One such barrier is fewer authorship and publication opportunities, with women often having fewer first authorships than men. In this research, we examine the overlooked role of middle authorship. Middle authorship contributes to various indices of productivity, while having lower costs. Study 1 looks at five years of authorship in two major journals in social and personality psychology. Study 2 examines publication records of all social psychology faculty in the Netherlands. Both studies find that women have fewer authorship possibilities: In Study 1, women were underrepresented as authors in academic journals, while women in Study 2 had shorter publication lists. More importantly, this tendency was exacerbated for middle authorship positions. Furthermore, the percentage of middle authorship publications were positively related to more publications overall. A focus on middle authorship highlights previously underestimated challenges women continue to face in psychological research.