, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 857-868

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Gender differences in scientific productivity: a persisting phenomenon?

  • Pleun van ArensbergenAffiliated withScience System Assessment, Rathenau Institute
  • , Inge van der WeijdenAffiliated withCWTS, Leiden University
  • , Peter van den BesselaarAffiliated withDepartment of Organization Science & Network Institute, VU University Amsterdam Email author 


There is substantial literature on research performance differences between male and female researchers, and its explanation. Using publication records of 852 social scientists, we show that performance differences indeed exist. However, our case study suggests that in the younger generation of researchers these have disappeared. If performance differences exist at all in our case, young female researchers outperform young male researchers. The trend in developed societies, that women increasingly outperform men in all levels of education, is also becoming effective in the science system.


Scholarly performance Gender differences Generation differences