Publications by female authors stand out in the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina’s classification in international ranking

29/06/2021 13:41

The number of female-authored publications at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) stands out in the Leiden Ranking, produced by the Center for the Study of Science and Technology (CWTS) at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Among the four indicators in the survey, ‘Gender’ puts UFSC in its best position among the 1,225 universities evaluated in 69 countries.

The Leiden Ranking is based on bibliographic data of scientific publications, in particular on articles published in scientific journals. It currently relies on the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science database as a primary source and does not use data obtained directly from universities. In the listing, four analysis parameters are considered: 1. Scientific impact (articles published in the Web of Science database from 2016 to 2019); 2. Collaborations (articles in partnership with other institutions); 3. Open access (ratio of free articles to restricted ones); 4. Gender (ratio of female authors).

When considering the indicators ‘Scientific Impact’, ‘Collaborations’ and ‘Open Access’, the University figures between positions 430 and 480 in the international ranking. In the gender classification, the Santa Catarina institution ranks 334th, 10th best in Latin America and 8th in Brazil. The survey counts 17,741 publications by the University, 7,185 of them (40.5%) by women. There are also 811 publications registered as unknown gender.

Professor Maique Weber Biavatti, Superintendent of Projects at the Prorectorate of Research (Propesq), says that the ranking reinforces the University’s position seen in other rankings, but considers that the lack of resources for Brazilian research makes it difficult to compete with the best institutions in the world. “UFSC has a very important role in Brazilian science considering the size of the University and its scope. We have always been among the top ten universities in several rankings. As for the world rankings, we know that we are a peripheral country, so it is very difficult for us to get to the same point where central countries that receive a lot of funding are. I think we do a miraculous job given the low funding we have. And for the incentive to research, unfortunately, this is not a favorable scenario that we are living”, she evaluated.

Still in relation to the ‘Gender’ indicator, the proportion in the division by areas of knowledge draws attention. The only one in which the percentage of female publications is higher than male is in the biomedical and health sciences: 3,132 male authors (49.6%) and 3,186 female authors (50.4%). In the others, female representation is lower. In Computer Sciences and Mathematics, for example, the participation of women constitutes only 10% of the total number of publications (see table below).

Male authorship Female authorship
Biomedical and health sciences 3.132 (49,6%) 3.186 (50,4%)
Life and earth sciences 2.495 (55,5%) 2.000 (44,5%)
Computer Sciences and Mathematics 1.033 (90%) 115 (10%)
Physical and engineering sciences 3.598 (67,4%) 1.737 (32,6%)
Social sciences and Humanities 298 (67,1%) 146 (32,9%)

To Professor Maique, the slight advantage in one of the areas is not enough to consolidate a majority. “Sharing the protagonism, from the equality point of view, would be 50%. But if you consider that in the Health Sciences, in general, historically the female participation is much higher than 50.4%, then it is not representative, since the area is predominantly held by women. There is still a very large male participation, despite the fact that most people who graduate in the Health Sciences are female”, she pointed out.

Professor Débora Menezes Peres, who was elected last week as the first female president of the Sociedade Brasileira de Física, highlights the asymmetry in the number of female researchers according to their field. The professor cites a study by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) which placed Computing and Physics among the fields with the lowest female representation. “That study says it would take 258 years to have gender equality or gender equity when it comes to women publishing as first or last author in Physics, for example. This asymmetry has to do with the number of researchers in the different areas of knowledge. We don’t need to go far: if you look at the statistics of the number of women in Physics, Computer Engineering, Automation, you can see that there is a very large gap,” she added.

The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) has recently implemented actions that seek to reduce the imbalance that exists in scientific production. Professor Maique Biavatti highlighted the institution of the Equity Commission, formalized in an ordinance from the Office of Affirmative Action and Diversities (Saad), with representation of women from different sectors, positions and campuses. She also highlighted the creation of the Prêmio Propesq – Mulheres na Ciência (Propesq – Women in Science Award), which seeks to inspire the internal and external scientific community in the different areas of knowledge and to contribute to diminish the gender asymmetry in science. “We should always think of ways to diversify the research groups as much as we can to achieve more creative viewpoints, thoughts, and scientific hypotheses,” she stated.

Ranking in the remaining indicators

UFSC’s ranking varied between positions 432 and 479 in the other three Leiden Ranking indicators. As for ‘Scientific Impact’, the University ranks 432 among the 1,225 institutions evaluated worldwide, being the 8th best ranked in Latin America and 7th in Brazil. In all, the survey counts 3,213 publications in the period between 2016 and 2019. Out of them, 1,088 are from Physical Sciences and Engineering, 922 from Biomedical and Health Sciences, 754 from Life and Earth Sciences, 311 from Computer Sciences and Mathematics, and 118 from Social Sciences and Humanities.

As for the indicator ‘Collaborations’, the University ranks 479th in the world, 11th in South America, and 8th in Brazil. According to the ranking, 6,245 collaborations were recorded between 2016 and 2019, of which 5,000 were inter-institutional collaborative publications (80.1% of the total), 2,687 were international collaborative publications, and 177 collaborative contributions with industry. UFSC repeats this ranking (479th in the world, 11th in South America and 8th in Brazil) when considering the ‘Open Access’ indicator. Of the 6,245 publications analyzed in the survey, 2,109 are open access (33.8% of the total).

Translated by SINTER/UFSC

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