Using the entire population of professors at universities in the province of Quebec (Canada), this article analyzes the relationship between sex and research funding, publication rates, and scientific impact. Since age is an important factor in research and the population pyramids of men and women are different, the role of age is also analyzed. The article shows that, after they have passed the age of about 38, women receive, on average, less funding for research than men, are generally less productive in terms of publications, and are at a slight disadvantage in terms of the scientific impact (measured by citations) of their publications. Various explanations for these differences are suggested, such as the more restricted collaboration networks of women, motherhood and the accompanying division of labour, women’s rank within the hierarchy of the scientific community and access to resources as well as their choice of research topics and level of specialization.
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There are 15 universities in Québec: Bishop’s University, Concordia University, Université Laval, Université McGill, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, École nationale d’administration publique, École de technologie supérieure.
Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) and Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT).
Similarly, we also sought to limit the impact of other types of infrastructure grants not explicitly indicated as such (unlike those from the CFI) and assigned to a single researcher, but which, in fact benefit an entire research group. We have therefore excluded researchers whose funding, for a given year, was greater than three times the standard deviation of the distribution of all funding received in a year.
For more details on how articles were attributed to Québec researchers, see Larivière (2010).
Three Canadian and three Quebec ones: The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the FRSQ, the FQRSC and the FQRNT.
This figure also shows a result which, while not directly linked to the present study, is quite interesting: funding from the six granting councils plateaus earlier than funding as a whole. This difference is especially large in SSH, where, for men, funding from the six councils reaches a maximum in their early 40s, while overall funding peaks in their early 50s. This suggests that while granting councils rely solely on expert peer review to make funding decisions, other kinds of funding tend to depend more on seniority, reputation and social networks.
It goes without saying that this practice is more common in health and NSE, as well as in those fields within SSH where research teams are more common, such as psychology. On the other hand, in SSH disciplines where collaboration is less frequent, the order of authors is generally according to their degree of contribution. Notable exceptions to these rules is high-energy and particle physics, where names are listed in alphabetical order (Birnholtz 2006; Galison 2003).
For more details, see Archambault and Larivière (2009).
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The authors wish to thank Brigitte Gemme, Ruby Heap, Lorie Kloda, Moktar Lamari, Christine Lessard, Virginia Trimble, and Matthew Wallace for their useful comments and suggestions. An earlier version of these results has been published in French in the 2010 Compendium d’indicateurs de l’activité scientifique et technologique du Québec of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
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Larivière, V., Vignola-Gagné, E., Villeneuve, C. et al. Sex differences in research funding, productivity and impact: an analysis of Québec university professors. Scientometrics 87, 483–498 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-011-0369-y