Gender Differences in Publication Output: Towards an Unbiased Metric of Research Performance

Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 02/2006; 1(1):e127. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000127
Source: PubMed


We examined the publication records of a cohort of 168 life scientists in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology to assess gender differences in research performance. Clear discrepancies in publication rate between men and women appear very early in their careers and this has consequences for the subsequent citation of their work. We show that a recently proposed index designed to rank scientists fairly is in fact strongly biased against female researchers, and advocate a modified index to assess men and women on a more equitable basis.

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    • "Patterns of authorship commonly differ between male and female scholars. Globally, women comprise <30% of authorships on scientific publications (Larivi ere et al. 2013; Burns 2015) and publish less frequently than do men (Symonds et al. 2006; Ledin et al. 2007; Long et al. 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a widespread perception in the academic community that peer review is subject to many biases and can be influenced by the identity and biographic features (such as gender) of manuscript authors.We examined how patterns of authorship differ between men and women, and whether author gender influences editorial and peer review outcomes and/or the peer review process for papers submitted to the journal Functional Ecology between 2010 and 2014.Women represented approximately a third of all authors on papers submitted to Functional Ecology. Relative to overall frequency of authorship, women were underrepresented as solo authors (26% were women). On multi-authored papers, women were also underrepresented as last/senior authors (25% were women) but overrepresented as first authors (43% were women). Women first authors were less likely than men first authors to serve as corresponding and submitting author of their papers; this difference was not influenced by the gender of the last author. Women were more likely to be authors on papers if the last author was female.Papers with female authors (A) were equally likely to be sent for peer review, (B) obtained equivalent peer review scores, and
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Functional Ecology
    • "Authorship therefore functions as a signal of gender inequality in the sciences and acts as a potential contributor to it. For example, women tend to publish less often than men on a per capita basis (Symonds et al. 2006; Ledin et al. 2007) and globally account for <30% of authorships (accounting for the number of authors; Larivi ere et al. 2013). Women also tend to be under-represented as first and last authors and over-represented as middle authors relative to their overall frequency as authors, though the degree to which this is the case varies among disciplines (Martin 2012; West et al. 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: 1.Lack of diversity on editorial boards might generate disparities in editorial and peer review that contribute to gender and geographic disparities in scholarly publishing.2.We use a comprehensive dataset of the peer review process for all papers submitted to the journal Functional Ecology from January 2004 to June 2014 to examine how gender, seniority and geographic location of editors and reviewers influences reviewer recruitment and scores given to papers by reviewers.3.The gender ratio of editors for Functional Ecology was majority male, but the proportion of female editors increased over time. The gender ratio of selected reviewers was also highly majority male but the proportion of women selected as reviewers increased over the 10 years largely because the number of women on the editorial board increased and female editors invited more female reviewers than did male editors. Male editors selected <25% female reviewers even in the year they selected the most women, but female editors consistently selected ~30-35% female reviewers. Editors also over-selected reviewers from their own geographic locality.4.Women invited to review were less likely to respond to review invitations, but more likely to accept if they responded. Women invited to review responded to the invitation similarly regardless of whether the editor inviting them was male or female, but men invited to review were both less likely to respond and more likely to decline if the editor was female.5.Review scores given to papers did not differ between male and female reviewers, and final decisions (proportion of papers rejected) did not differ between male and female editors.6.The proportion of women among selected reviewers decreased with editor seniority when the editor was male but increased with editor seniority when the editor was female. Thus, the gender ratio of selected reviewers differed little between early-career male and female editors but differed a lot between late-career (more senior) male and female editors. Individuals invited to review were less likely to agree to review if the editor was more senior.7.Editor gender, seniority and geographic location affect who is invited to review for Functional Ecology, and how invitees respond to review invitations, but not the final outcome of the peer review process. To increase diversity of reviewer populations, journals need to increase gender, age and geographic diversity of their editorial boards.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Functional Ecology
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    • "If true, this might easily translate into a reluctance to publish thus reducing publication output (a highly valued metric of productivity and often researcher quality) even from an early career stage. Such risk aversion may provide one explanation for the 'productivity puzzle' identified across so many fields of academia (Xie & Shauman, 1998; Symonds et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Women continue to be under-represented in the sciences, with their representation declining at each progressive academic level. These differences persist despite longrunning policies to ameliorate gender inequity. We compared gender differences in exposure and visibility at an evolutionary biology conference for attendees at two different academic levels: student and post-PhD academic. Despite there being almost exactly a 1:1 ratio of women and men attending the conference, we found that when considering only those who presented talks, women spoke for far less time than men of an equivalent academic level: on average student women presented for 23% less time than student men, and academic women presented for 17% less time than academic men.We conducted more detailed analyses to tease apart whether this gender difference was caused by decisions made by the attendees or through bias in evaluation of the abstracts. At both academic levels, women and men were equally likely to request a presentation.However, women were more likely than men to prefer a short talk, regardless of academic level. We discuss potential underlying reasons for this gender bias, and provide recommendations to avoid similar gender biases at future conferences. Subjects
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · PeerJ
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