A 10-year follow-up study of sex inclusion in the biological sciences

Nicole C. Woitowich*, Annaliese K. Beery, Teresa K. Woodruff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In 2016, to address the historical overrepresentation of male subjects in biomedical research, the US National Institutes of Health implemented a policy requiring investigators to consider sex as a biological variable. In order to assess the impact of this policy, we conducted a bibliometric analysis across nine biological disciplines for papers published in 34 journals in 2019, and compared our results with those of a similar study carried out by Beery and Zucker in 2009. There was a significant increase in the proportion of studies that included both sexes across all nine disciplines, but in eight of the disciplines there was no change in the proportion studies that included data analyzed by sex. The majority of studies failed to provide rationale for single-sex studies or the lack of sex-based analyses, and those that did relied on misconceptions surrounding the hormonal variability of females. Together, these data demonstrate that while sex-inclusive research practices are more commonplace, there are still gaps in analyses and reporting of data by sex in many biological disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56344
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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