Disparities in publication patterns by gender, race and ethnicity based on a survey of a random sample of authors

Abstract

Gender and racial disparities have greatly diminished in academia over the last 30 years, but attrition rates among women and minority faculty still remain high. In this paper we examine gender and racial disparities in publishing, an activity that is important for career advancement, but has not been incorporated adequately into the debate on faculty attrition. We surveyed a random sample of 1,065 authors who contributed a peer-reviewed journal article indexed in the Web of Science (WoS) in 2005 and at least one other article during the period of 2001–2004 in four academic disciplines representing natural sciences (biochemistry and water resources) and social sciences (anthropology and economics). We then report on the relationships between demographic variables (gender and race/ethnicity) and career-related variables (academic rank, discipline, and h-index) of these authors. Our findings show that at every career level and within each discipline, women were under-represented in academic positions compared to men and an even lower percentage of women published at each academic level than were employed at that level. Further, we found that women had lower h-indices than men in all four disciplines surveyed. Societal and biological constraints may reduce women’s ability to obtain research intensive positions and contribute to these gender disparities. Hispanics and blacks were underrepresented among individuals awarded with doctoral degrees, doctorate recipients employed in academia, and academics publishing in WoS as compared to their representation in the population. Whites, Asians, and Native Americans and Pacific Islanders were adequately or over-represented in each category. Additionally, blacks had lower h-indices than the other ethnic groups across the disciplines surveyed. Compared to women, attrition among blacks and Hispanics appears to occur earlier in their career development. Cumulative experiences with discrimination and stereotypes may partly explain higher attrition and lower publication productivity among blacks and Hispanics.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a University of Florida Opportunity grant and NSF grant 0738116. A. Hopkins was supported in part by NIH/NCCAM T32 AT001287.

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Correspondence to James W. Jawitz.

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Hopkins, A.L., Jawitz, J.W., McCarty, C. et al. Disparities in publication patterns by gender, race and ethnicity based on a survey of a random sample of authors. Scientometrics 96, 515–534 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-012-0893-4

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Keywords

  • Academic attrition
  • Publication productivity
  • Gender disparities
  • Racial and ethnic disparities