The Possible Role of Resource Requirements and Academic Career-Choice Risk on Gender Differences in Publication Rate and Impact

Departament d'Enginyeria Informàtica i Matemàtiques, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 12/2012; 7(12):e51332. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051332
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many studies demonstrate that there is still a significant gender bias, especially at higher career levels, in many areas including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We investigated field-dependent, gender-specific effects of the selective pressures individuals experience as they pursue a career in academia within seven STEM disciplines. We built a unique database that comprises 437,787 publications authored by 4,292 faculty members at top United States research universities. Our analyses reveal that gender differences in publication rate and impact are discipline-specific. Our results also support two hypotheses. First, the widely-reported lower publication rates of female faculty are correlated with the amount of research resources typically needed in the discipline considered, and thus may be explained by the lower level of institutional support historically received by females. Second, in disciplines where pursuing an academic position incurs greater career risk, female faculty tend to have a greater fraction of higher impact publications than males. Our findings have significant, field-specific, policy implications for achieving diversity at the faculty level within the STEM disciplines.

Download full-text


Available from: Xiao Han T. Zeng, Jan 14, 2015
    • "The empirical relation between early publications in scientific journals and overall career knowledge production has been explored since the 1970s (see Reskin 1979; Long et al. 1979) and continues to receive attention in the literature (Laurance et al. 2013; Pinheiro et al. 2014). Other studies have also used it as a determinant of research productivity (e.g., Fox 1983), among other determinants such as gender (Duch et al. 2012), age (Costas et al. 2010), networking (Ismail and Rasdi 2007), mobility (Horta 2013), and collaborations (van Rijnsoever and Hessels 2011). Although previous studies on the relation between early publications and career knowledge production have contributed to the advancement of knowledge on this subject, they tend to focus solely on research productivity as an output indicator. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study analyzes the impact that publishing during the period of PhD study has on researchers’ future knowledge production, impact, and co-authorship. The analysis is based on a representative sample of PhDs from all fields of science working in Portugal. For each researcher in the dataset, we compiled a lifetime publication record and respective meta-data retrieved from Thomson Reuters Web of Science. Our results extend the previous literature by showing that those who publish during their PhD have greater research production and productivity, and greater numbers of yearly citations and citations throughout their career compared to those who did not publish during their PhD. Moreover, it is found that those who publish during their PhD are more adept to publish single-authored publications and engage in publications with peers based abroad, thus suggesting both higher levels of scientific autonomy and international collaboration dynamics.
    Research in Higher Education 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11162-015-9380-0 · 1.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Publication success is discipline-specific: men have higher publication success in particular fields, while in some research fields and disciplines female researchers have higher publication success than their male counterparts (Duch et al. 2012). Business research is a field with several disciplines such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, operations research and production, or information systems. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The authors analyze whether publication success of journal articles by authors from German-speaking countries is related to gender composition and internationality of the author team. The database for the analysis covers 7,464 articles that were published in peer-reviewed journals between 2008 and 2012 and that were (co-)authored by business researchers from German-speaking countries. The articles were ranked according to the quality of the journal an article was published in, using three prominent journal rankings in business research. The findings indicate that journal publication success is significantly higher in predominantly male and predominantly international author teams, and this relationship is even stronger the more selective the ranking is. The findings also indicate an interaction between gender composition and internationality. The findings vary across disciplines in business research depending on the average share of female coauthors in a discipline. Since the substantial differences in publication success for author teams that vary in gender composition are rather small and we even find a tendency of female authors to be more productive than male authors, these findings show that providing equal opportunities for female and male researchers that is a goal in its own right does not hurt science but can benefit research outcomes.
    07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s40685-015-0019-y
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reputation is an important social construct in science, enabling informed quality assessments of both publications and careers in the absence of complete systemic information. However, the relation between reputation and career growth remains poorly understood, despite the rapid growth of quantitative methods developed for research evaluation. We develop an original framework for measuring how citation paths are influenced by two distinct factors -- the scientific merit of each individual paper versus the reputation of its authors within the scientific community. To estimate their relative strength, we perform a longitudinal analysis of publication data for 450 leading scientists and find a citation crossover $c_{\times}$ which distinguishes the strength of the reputation effect. For papers with citations $c$ below $c_{\times}$, the author reputation dominates the citation rate; if $c\geq c_{\times}$ then the paper quality dominates the citation rate. Hence, papers may gain a significant early citation advantage if coauthored by authors already having high reputations in the scientific community. Concomitant to this reputation mechanism, we observe for top scientists a non-decreasing growth in both publications and citations, a pattern which reflects the amplifying role of social processes. As quantitative measures become increasingly common in the evaluation of scientific careers, we show that it is important to account for author reputation when estimating the intrinsic quality of research. Furthermore, our results also indicate a strong role played by reputation in the mentor matching process within academic institutions, in the effectiveness of double blinding in peer-review, and in other generic reputation systems.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2013; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1323111111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
Show more