Ask the grumpies: Gender and Publications

The Frugal Ecologist asks:

I really want to know what you guys think about this study about publication quantity vs. quality in males vs. females. In particular Figure 1 – so many women at the bottom… so many men at the top…
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534713000839

Do they control for time in the profession?  You would get that picture if women have only entered into the field of ecology recently.  Old guys who have been around for a while will have both more pubs and more citations, just because their work has been around longer and they’ve been around longer.

A resource you could check out is:

http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/gendertutorial/   starting with tutorial 1.  It will tell you what the numbers are across multiple fields (STEM, law, medicine, etc.) and how we can interpret them (later moving on to why they got this way and how we can change things).  This is a site prepared by an expert in this field, crunching down the data and making it in an easy-to-display form.  The tutorials have voiceover narration that tells you the main points, and you can click around for getting more numbers if you want.  Or read the transcripts.  This is where I would usually point people when they want to know about this topic.  Happy reading!

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5 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Gender and Publications”

  1. Linda Says:

    Perhaps a related question here: is it a violation of copyright or some other law to summarize the article cited in the question, or at least to give a summary of what was in Figure 1?

    I’m one of your non-academic readers so I don’t usually have much commentary on academic topics, but I often like to read them. (I have a sponge-like personality and consume out all sorts of information that I may never use.) I inferred a lot from the question and answer, but I couldn’t see the figure or scan the article because it was behind a paywall. As much I was curious about the topic, I wasn’t about to pay $38 to read the article.

    Those tutorials that you linked to look awesome, though. I scanned a few pages of the transcripts and really liked them. :-)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If it’s a violation of copyright, then all academics are guilty. This kind of thing must fall under one of the fair use provisions. Usually one does have to get permission to reprint figures.

  2. Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

    Tried to leave a comment earlier but wordpress ate it. The CUNY tutorial was depressing if unsurprising. People who make important decisions about who is a promising serious scientist have images in their heads of what a promising serious scientist looks like, and he is male. If I had to guess, probably tall too!

  3. August 24 Roundup | Funny about Money Says:

    […] wonder what preoccupies college professors? Pay a visit to Grumpy Rumblings for a peek at publishing, gender bias, and the joy of the academic career. Being retired from academia is about like being from Texas…as far from it as you can […]


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