Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A study of factors inhibiting research productivity of Iranian women in ISI

  • 483 Accesses

  • 2 Citations


Because in terms of research productivity, performance of women is weaker than men’s, and since little is known on the factors inhibiting academic women’s productivity in Iran, the present article aims to study factors inhibiting research productivity of Iranian women in ISI. To do this, at first, women who have already had published documents indexed in ISI were identified through web of science (WoS). Afterwards, in order to collect their view regarding factors inhibiting women’s research productivity, a researcher-made questionnaire was used. To analyze the collected data, the statistical software SPSS (version 17) was used. Both descriptive (percentage and frequency) and inferential (ANOVA) statistics were employed to reach valid findings. The findings indicate that the most inhibitory factors affecting negatively publishing scholarly articles by Iranian women are ‘Shortcomings in the existing laws’, ‘Stereotypes and beliefs concerning women’, ‘Family work’, ‘Social and cultural contingencies’, ‘Child care’, and ‘Low collaboration with male colleagues’. Finally, some remarks for the improvement of the current condition are highlighted.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.

    Information Literacy, i.e. accessing information efficiently and effectively, evaluating information critically and competently, and using information effectively and creatively (Isfandyari-Moghaddam and Kashi-Nahanji 2011, p. 628).

  6. 6.

    With regard to ‘gender’ or sex differences, there are some studies that report no or low gender effect on publishing. For example, Xie and Shauman (1999, p. 863) highlighted that there is very little direct effect of sex on research productivity. And, Stack (2004, p. 912) in a study concluded that gender remained a significant predictor of productivity after children and numerous other covariates of research productivity were included in the analysis. This needs much investigation within the context of developing countries like Iran.


  1. Abramo, G., D’Angelo, C. A., & Caprasecca, A. (2009). Gender differences in research productivity: A bibliometric survey on the Italian academic system. Scientometrics, 79(3), 517–539.

  2. Allison, P. D., & Long, J. S. (1990). Departmental effects on scientific productivity. American Sociological Review, 55(4), 469–478. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  3. Aqili, S. V., & Isfandyari-Moghaddam, A. (2008). Bridging the digital divide: The role of librarians and information professionals in the third millennium. The Electronic Library, 26(2), 226–237.

  4. Babu, A. R., & Singh, Y. P. (1998). Determinants of research productivity. Scientometrics, 43(3), 309–329.

  5. Barjak, F. (2006). Research productivity in the internet era. Scientometrics, 68(3), 343–360.

  6. Bloedel, J. R. (2001). Judging research productivity on an entrepreneurial campusé. Evaluation Research Productivity, 105, 81–84. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  7. Chen, Y., Gupta, A., & Hoshower, L. (2006). Factors that motivate business faculty to conduct research: An expectancy theory analysis. Journal of Education for Business, 81(4), 179–189.

  8. Cole, J. R., & Zuckerman, H. (1984). The productivity puzzle: Persistence and change in patterns of publication among men and women scientists. In M. W. Steimkamp & M. Maehr (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement, Vol. 2. Greenwich: JAI Press.

  9. Creswell, J. W., & Bean, J. P. (1981). Research output, socialization and the Biglan model. Research in Higher Education, 15(1), 69–89.

  10. Davarpanah, M., & Moradi Moghadam, H. (2012). The contribution of women in Iranian scholarly publication. Library Review, 61(4), 261–271.

  11. Davenport, H., & Snyder, H. (1995). Who cites women. Whom do women cite: An exploration of gender and scholarly citation in sociology. Journal of Documentation, 51(4), 404–410.

  12. David, P. A. (1994). Positive feed-backs and research productivity in science: Reopening another black box. In O. Granstrand (Ed.), Economics and Technology (pp. 65–89). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  13. Ding, W. W., Murray, F., & Stuart, T. E. (2006). Gender differences in patenting in the academic life sciences. Science, 313(5787), 665–667.

  14. Ferber, M. A. (1986). Citations: Are they an objective measure of scholarly merit? Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 11(2), 281–289.

  15. Fonseca, L., Velloso, S., Wofchuck, S., & De Meis, L. (1997). The importance of human relationships in scientific productivity. Scientometrics, 39(2), 159–171.

  16. Fox, M. F. (1983). Publication productivity among scientists: A critical review. Social Studies of Science, 13(2), 283–305.

  17. Fox, M. F. (2005). Gender, family characteristics, and publication productivity among scientists. Social Studies of Science, 35(1), 131–150.

  18. Hadjinicola, G. C., & Soteriou, A. C. (2006). Factors affecting research productivity of production and operation management groups: An empirical study. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences, 2006(Article ID 96542), 1–16. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  19. Hall, B. H., Mairesse, J., & Turner, L. (2007). Identifying age, cohort and period effects in scientific research productivity: Discussion and illustration using simulated and actual data on French physicists. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 16(1/2), 159–177.

  20. Hedjazi, Y., & Behravan, J. (2011). Study of factors influencing research productivity of agriculture faculty members in Iran. Higher Education, 62(5), 635–647.

  21. Hemlin, S., & Gustafsson, M. (1996). Research production in the arts and humanities—A questionnaire study of factors influencing research performance. Scientometrics, 37(3), 417–432.

  22. Hughes, C. (1996). Factors related to faculty publishing productivity. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  23. Hüsing, T., & Selhofer, H. (2002). The digital divide index—a measure of social inequalities in the adoption of ICT. Paper presented at ECIS, Gdansk, June 6–8, Accessed 22 June 2012.

  24. Isfandyari-Moghaddam, A., Hasanzadeh, M., & Ghayoori, Z. (2012). A study of factors affecting research productivity of Iranian women in ISI. Scientometrics, 91(1), 159–172.

  25. Isfandyari-Moghaddam, A., & Kashi-Nahanji, V. (2011). Does information technology affect the level of information literacy? A comparative case study of high school students. Aslib Proceedings, 63(6), 618–631.

  26. Kanter, R. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.

  27. Konrad, A., & Pfeffer, J. (1990). Do you get what you deserve? Factors affecting the relationship between productivity and pay. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(2), 258–285.

  28. Kotrlik, J. W., Bartlett, J. E., Higgins, C. C., & Williams, H. A. (2002). Factors associated with research productivity of agricultural education faculty. Journal of Agricultural Education, 43(3), 1–10.

  29. Kyvik, S., & Olsen, T. B. (2008). Does the aging of tenured academic staff affect the research performance of universities? Scientometrics, 76(3), 439–455.

  30. Kyvik, S., & Teigen, M. (1991). Child care, research collaboration, and gender differences in scientific productivity. Science, Technology and Human Values, 21(1), 54–71.

  31. Larivière, V., Vignola-Gagné, E., Villeneuve, C., Gélinas, P., & Gingras, Y. (2011). Sex differences in research funding, productivity and impact: An analysis of Québec university professors. Scientometrics, 87(3), 483–498.

  32. Laviton, A., & Ray, R. (1992). Personal and institutional characteristics affecting research productivity of academic accountants. Journal of Education for Business, 67(3), 195–206.

  33. Leahey, E. (2006). Gender differences in productivity: Research specialization as a missing link. Gender and Society, 20(6), 754–780.

  34. Lertputtarak, S. (2008). An investigation of factors related to research productivity in a public university in Thailand: A case study. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education, School of Education, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne.

  35. Leta, J., & Lewison, G. (2003). The contribution of women in Brazilian science: A case study in astronomy, immunology and oceanography. Scientometrics, 57(3), 339–353.

  36. Lissoni, F., Mairesse, J., Montobbioy, F., & Pezzoni, M. (2011). Scientific productivity and academic promotion: A study on French and Italian physicists. Industrial and Corporate Change, 20(1), 253–294.

  37. Long, J. S. (1992). Measures of sex differences in scientific productivity. Social Forces, 71(1), 159–178.

  38. Manjunath, L., & Shashidahra, K. K. (2011). Determinates of scientific productivity of agricultural scientists. Indian Research Journal of Extension Education, 11(1), 7–12. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  39. Marsh, W., & Hattie, J. (2002). The relation between research productivity and teaching effectiveness: Complementary, antagonistic or independent constructs? The Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), 603–641.

  40. Mozaffarian, M., & Jamali, H. R. (2008). Iranian women in science: A gender study of scientific productivity in an Islamic country. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 60(5), 463–473.

  41. Parker, J. N., Lortie, C., & Allesina, S. (2010). Characterizing a scientific elite: The social characteristics of the most highly cited scientists in environmental science and ecology. Scientometrics, 85(1), 129–143.

  42. Patisampita, P. (1989). The investigation of the factors affecting academic research productivity in Sinakarin Tharavirot Prasanmit University. Bangkok: Sinakarin Tharavirot Prasanmit University.

  43. Perkins, J. (1973). Organization and functions of the university: The university as an organization. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  44. Prpić, K. (2000). The publication productivity of young scientists: An empirical study. Scientometrics, 49(3), 453–490.

  45. Prpić, K. (2002). Gender and productivity differentials in science. Scientometrics, 55(1), 27–58.

  46. Ridgeway, C. L. (2009). Framed before we know it: How gender shapes social relations. Gender & Society, 23(2), 145–160.

  47. Rossi, A. S. (1965). Women in science: Why so few? Science, 148(3674), 1196–1202.

  48. Stack, S. (2001). The effect of field of terminal degree on scholarly productivity: An analysis of criminal justice faculty. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 12(1), 19–34.

  49. Stack, S. (2002a). Gender and scholarly productivity: 1970–2000. Sociological Focus, 35(August), 285–296.

  50. Stack, S. (2002b). Gender and scholarly productivity: The case of criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30(2), 175–182.

  51. Stack, S. (2004). Gender, children and research productivity. Research in Higher Education, 45(8), 891–920.

  52. Tasviri-Ghamsari, F., & Jahannama, M. (2008). Studying scientific productivity of researchers at Engineering Research Institute. Librarianship and Information Science (an Iranian Journal), 10(2), 63–79.

  53. Teodorescu, D. (2000). Correlates of faculty publication productivity: A cross-national analysis. Higher Education, 39, 201–222.

  54. Turner, L., & Mairesse, J. (2003). Individual productivity differences in scientific research: An econometric study of the publications of French physicists. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  55. Wichian, S. N., Wongwanich, S., & Bowarnkitiwong, S. (2009). Factors affecting research productivity of faculty members in government universities: Lisrel and neural network analyses. Accessed 22 June 2012.

  56. Williams, A. (2003). A mediated hierarchical regression analysis of factors related to research productivity of human resource education and workforce development postsecondary faculty. Doctoral Dissertation, Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

  57. Xie, Y., & Shauman, K. (1999). Commentary: Gender differences in research productivity. The Scientist, 13(19), 10.

Download references


Many thanks to Hamedan Branch, Islamic Azad University (Iran) as well as the authorities and research staff of National Research Institute for Science Policy for their kind cooperation. The authors would like to express special thanks to the respected reviewers of the article for their helpful consultancy and useful comments. Dr. Lotfollah Karimi is also appreciated for his cooperation.

Author information

Correspondence to Alireza Isfandyari-Moghaddam.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Isfandyari-Moghaddam, A., Hasanzadeh, M. A study of factors inhibiting research productivity of Iranian women in ISI. Scientometrics 95, 797–815 (2013).

Download citation


  • Bibliometrics
  • Scientific products
  • Scientific productivity
  • Inhibitory factors
  • Research hindrances
  • Women
  • Iran