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Gender bias in patenting process

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Abstract

Collaboration among inventors is very important in patenting an invention. Inventors collaborate based on their professional knowledge and experience. Because of the non-disclosure nature of the invention process, it is difficult to test the factors influencing collaboration between inventors, e.g., gender bias. In this study, employing the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dataset with 6.64 million patents, we have identified the gender of 4.66 million inventors, including 2.12 million lead inventors and 2.54 million joint inventors. We find that women are underrepresented in the patent collaboration process and that both genders have strong preference for same-gender inventors. Moreover, even in those fields that have equal proportions of male and female inventors, gender bias persists. These results highlight the need to intensify efforts to combat gender bias in the patenting process rather than focusing solely on the lack of equal gender representation in the numerical proportions.

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Similarity breeds connection. This principle - the homophily principle - structures network ties of every type, including marriage, friendship, work, advice, support, information transfer, exchange, comembership, and other types of relationship. The result is that people's personal networks are homogeneous with regard to many sociodemographic, behavioral, and intrapersonal characteristics. Homophily limits people's social worlds in a way that has powerful implications for the information they receive, the attitudes they form, and the interactions they experience. Homophily in race and ethnicity creates the strongest divides in our personal environments, with age, religion, education, occupation, and gender following in roughly that order. Geographic propinquity, families, organizations, and isomorphic positions in social systems all create contexts in which homophilous relations form. Ties between nonsimilar individuals also dissolve at a higher rate, which sets the stage for the formation of niches (localized positions) within social space. We argue for more research on: (a) the basic ecological processes that link organizations, associations, cultural communities, social movements, and many other social forms; (b) the impact of multiplex ties on the patterns of homophily; and (c) the dynamics of network change over time through which networks and other social entities co-evolve.
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The peer review model is one of the most important tools used in science to assess the relative merit of research. We manipulated a published article to reflect one of the following four author designations: female, male, initial, and no name provided. This article was then reviewed by referees of both genders at various stages of scientific training. Name changing did not influence acceptance rates or quality ratings. Undergraduate referees were less critical than graduate students or postdoctoral researchers, independent of gender. However, female postdoctoral researchers were the most critical referees: Their rejection rates were the highest and quality ratings the lowest, regardless of the author name provided. Contrary to previous reports in the literature, there was no evidence of same-gender preferences. This study strongly suggests that female postgraduate biologists may apply different expectations to peer review.
Article
A detailed and systematic examination of the contribution of public science to industrial technology would be useful evidence in arguing the case for governmental support of science. This paper provides such an examination, by tracing the rapidly growing citation linkage between U.S. patents and scientific research papers. Seventy-three percent of the papers cited by U.S. industry patents are public science, authored at academic, governmental, and other public institutions; only 27% are authored by industrial scientists. A strong national component of this citation linkage was found, with each country's inventors preferentially citing papers authored in their own country, by a factor of between two and four. Particularly rapid growth was found for the dependence of patented technology on U.S. papers. References from U.S. patents to U.S.-authored research papers have tripled over a six-year period, from 17,000 during 1987–1988 to 50,000 during 1993–1994, a period in which the U.S. patent system grew by only 30%. The cited U.S. papers are from the mainstream of modern science; quite basic, in influential journals, authored at top-flight research universities and laboratories, relatively recent, and heavily supported by NIH, NSF, and other public agencies.
Article
Measuring the output of men and women in science and technology has previously been mostly restricted to case studies or small-scale surveys. Based on an analysis of patent and publication databases, this paper applies a methodology to systematically assign the gender to the names of inventors and authors. The method is applied to 14 countries. The results of this investigation reveal substantial differences across countries in terms of women's relative contribution1 to science and technology, with the central European countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland all ranking comparatively low in this respect. We also examine trends over time, showing that the data on women's share of publications – unlike the results for patents – hardly increase over time for the already better-performing nations.
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Social network sites like MySpace are increasingly important environments for expressing and maintaining interpersonal connections, but does online communication exacerbate or ameliorate the known tendency for offline friendships to form between similar people (homophily)? This article reports an exploratory study of the similarity between the reported attributes of pairs of active MySpace Friends based upon a systematic sample of 2,567 members joining on June 18, 2007 and Friends who commented on their profile. The results showed no evidence of gender homophily but significant evidence of homophily for ethnicity, religion, age, country, marital status, attitude towards children, sexual orientation, and reason for joining MySpace. There were also some imbalances: women and the young were disproportionately commenters, and commenters tended to have more Friends than commentees. Overall, it seems that although traditional sources of homophily are thriving in MySpace networks of active public connections, gender homophily has completely disappeared. Finally, the method used has wide potential for investigating and partially tracking homophily in society, providing early warning of socially divisive trends.
Article
The gender gap in science and technology has received considerable attention by both researchers and policy makers. In an effort to better understand the quantity, quality, and underlying characteristics of female research efforts, I integrate three existing databases to uncover how female patenting activities differ from men's in the US biotechnology industry. Data on how much science the patents build upon, the author institutions of that science, and who funded the papers in which the science appears are all examined. In addition, using the NBER Patent Citation Data Files, I propose a possible gender-based life cycle model for patenting activity. The policy implications of my findings are also discussed.
Article
Explanations for women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. To better understand women's underrepresentation in math-intensive fields and its causes, we reprise claims of discrimination and their evidentiary bases. Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current causes of women's lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women's underrepresentation. We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women's participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today's causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes. Finally, we suggest potential avenues of intervention to increase gender fairness that accord with current, as opposed to historical, findings.
Article
Random graph theory is used to examine the "small-world phenomenon"; any two strangers are connected through a short chain of mutual acquaintances. We will show that for certain families of random graphs with given expected degrees the average distance is almost surely of order log nlog d, where d is the weighted average of the sum of squares of the expected degrees. Of particular interest are power law random graphs in which the number of vertices of degree k is proportional to 1kbeta for some fixed exponent beta. For the case of beta > 3, we prove that the average distance of the power law graphs is almost surely of order log nlog d. However, many Internet, social, and citation networks are power law graphs with exponents in the range 2 < beta < 3 for which the power law random graphs have average distance almost surely of order log log n, but have diameter of order log n (provided having some mild constraints for the average distance and maximum degree). In particular, these graphs contain a dense subgraph, which we call the core, having n(clog log n) vertices. Almost all vertices are within distance log log n of the core although there are vertices at distance log n from the core.
Article
By using data from three bibliographic databases in biology, physics, and mathematics, respectively, networks are constructed in which the nodes are scientists, and two scientists are connected if they have coauthored a paper. We use these networks to answer a broad variety of questions about collaboration patterns, such as the numbers of papers authors write, how many people they write them with, what the typical distance between scientists is through the network, and how patterns of collaboration vary between subjects and over time. We also summarize a number of recent results by other authors on coauthorship patterns.
Article
We analyzed longitudinal data on academic careers and conducted interviews with faculty members to determine the scope and causes of the gender gap in patenting among life scientists. Our regressions on a random sample of 4227 life scientists over a 30-year period show that women faculty members patent at about 40% of the rate of men. We found that the gender gap has improved over time but remains large.
Homophily and long-run integration in social networks
  • Bramoulle
The impact of Uncertain intellectual property rights on the market for ideas: Evidence from patent grant delays
  • Gans
Bias cut - Women, it seems, often get a raw deal in science - so how can discrimination be tackled?
  • Bornmann