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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Object The application of bibliometric techniques to academic neurosurgery has been the focus of several recent publications. The authors provide here a detailed analysis of all active pediatric neurosurgeons in North America and their respective departments. Methods Using Scopus and Google Scholar, a bibliometric profile for every known active pediatric neurosurgeon in North America was created using the following citation metrics: h-, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices and the m-quotient. Various subgroups were compared. Departmental productivity from 2008 through 2013 was measured, and departments were ranked on the basis of cumulative h- and e-indices and the total number of publications and citations. Lorenz curves were created, and Gini coefficients were calculated for all departments with 4 or more members. Results Three hundred twelve pediatric neurosurgeons (260 male, 52 female) were included for analysis. For the entire group, the median h-index, m-quotient, contemporary h-, g-, and e-indices, and the corrected g- and e-indices were 10, 0.59, 7, 18, 17, 1.14, and 1.01, respectively; the range for each index varied widely. Academic pediatric neurosurgeons associated with fellowship programs (compared with unassociated neurosurgeons), academic practitioners (compared with private practitioners), and men (compared with women) had superior measurements. There was no significant difference between American and Canadian pediatric neurosurgeons. The mean Gini coefficient for publications was 0.45 (range 0.18-0.70) and for citations was 0.53 (range 0.25-0.80). Conclusions This study represents the most exhaustive evaluation of academic productivity for pediatric neurosurgeons in North America to date. These results should serve as benchmarks for future studies.
    Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 10/2014; · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Analyzing a large data set of publications drawn from the most competitive journals in the natural and social sciences we show that research careers exhibit the broad distributions of individual achievement characteristic of systems in which cumulative advantage plays a key role. While most researchers are personally aware of the competition implicit in the publication process, little is known about the levels of inequality at the level of individual researchers. Here we analyzed both productivity and impact measures for a large set of researchers publishing in high-impact journals, accounting for censoring biases in the publication data by using distinct researcher cohorts defined over non-overlapping time periods. For each researcher cohort we calculated Gini inequality coefficients, with average Gini values around 0.48 for total publications and 0.73 for total citations. For perspective, these observed values are well in excess of the inequality levels observed for personal income in developing countries. Investigating possible sources of this inequality, we identify two potential mechanisms that act at the level of the individual that may play defining roles in the emergence of the broad productivity and impact distributions found in science. First, we show that the average time interval between a researcher's successive publications in top journals decreases with each subsequent publication. Second, after controlling for the time dependent features of citation distributions, we compare the citation impact of subsequent publications within a researcher's publication record. We find that as researchers continue to publish in top journals, there is more likely to be a decreasing trend in the relative citation impact with each subsequent publication. This pattern highlights the difficulty of repeatedly producing research findings in the highest citation-impact echelon, as well as the role played by finite career and knowledge life-cycles, and the intriguing possibility that confirmation bias plays a role in the evaluation of scientific careers.
    EPJ Data Science. 11/2014; 3:24.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The literature on gender differences in research performance seems to suggest a gap between men and women, where the former outperform the latter. Whether one agrees with the different factors proposed to explain the phenomenon, it is worthwhile to verify if comparing the performance within each gender, rather than without distinction, gives significantly different ranking lists. If there were some structural factor that determined a penalty in performance of female researchers compared to their male peers, then under conditions of equal capacities of men and women, any comparative evaluations of individual performance that fail to account for gender differences would lead to distortion of the judgments in favor of men. In this work we measure the extent of differences in rank between the two methods of comparing performance in each field of the hard sciences: for professors in the Italian university system, we compare the distributions of research performance for men and women and subsequently the ranking lists with and without distinction by gender. The results are of interest for the optimization of efficient selection in formulation of recruitment, career advancement and incentive schemes.
    Journal of Informetrics 11/2014; 9(1). · 4.23 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jan 14, 2015