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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
AAMC (2005) Analysis in brief: the changing representation of men and women in academic medicine. Available at: https://www.aamc.org/download/75776/data/aibvol5no2.pdf.
Astin, H. S., & Sax, L. J. (1996). Developing scientific talent in undergraduate women. In C. S. Davis, A. B. Ginorio, B. B. Hollenshead, & P. M. Rayman (Eds.), The equity equation: fostering the advancement of women in the sciences, mathematics and engineering. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Barnes, L. L. B., Agago, M. O., & Coombs, W. T. (1998). Effects of job-related stress on faculty intention to leave academia. Research in Higher Education, 39(4), 457.
Batista, P. D., Campiteli, M. G., Kinouchi, O., & Martinez, A. S. (2006). Is it possible to compare researchers with different scientific interests? Scientometrics, 68(1), 179–189.
Becher, T., & Trowler, P. (2001). Academic tribes and territories: intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.
Benbow, C. P. (1988). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability among the intellectually talented: their characteristics, consequences, and possible explanations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 11, 169–183.
Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1980). Sex differences in mathematical ability: fact or artifact? Science, 210, 1262–1264.
Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1983). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability: more facts. Science, 222, 1029–1031.
Biglan, A. (1973). Relationships between subject matter characteristics and the structure and output of university departments. Journal of Applied Psychology, 57(3), 204–213.
Blackburn, R. T., Behymer, C. E., & Hall, D. E. (1978). Research Note: correlates of Faculty Publications. Sociology of Education, 51(2), 132.
Blackburn, R. T., Bieber, J. P., Lawrence, J. H., & Trautvetter, L. (1991). Faculty at work: focus on research, scholarship, and service. Research in Higher Education, 32(4), 385–413.
Bransford, J., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Braxton, J. R., & Hargens, L. L. (1996). Variation among academic disciplines: analytical frameworks and research. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, 11, 1–46.
Callister, R. (2006). The impact of gender and department climate on job satisfaction and intentions to quit for faculty in science and engineering fields. Journal of Technology Transfer, 31, 367–375.
Ceci, S. J., & Williams, W. M. (2010). The mathematics of sex: How biology and society conspire to limit talented women and girls. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ceci, S. J., & Williams, W. M. (2011). Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science. PNAS, 108(8), 3157–3162.
Ceci, S. J., Williams, W. M., & Barnett, S. M. (2009). Women’s underrepresentation in science: sociocultural and biological considerations. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 218–261.
Chiliwniak L (1997) Higher education leadership: Analyzing the gender gap. Available at: http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED410847.pdf.
CMPWASE (2007) Beyond bias and barriers: Fulfilling the potential of women in academic science and engineering. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Cole, J. R., & Zuckerman, H. (1984). The productivity puzzle: persistence and change in patterns of publication of men and women scientists. In P. Maehr & M. W. Steinkamp (Eds.), Advances in Motivation and Achievement (pp. 217–258). Greewich: JAI Press.
Cole, J. R., & Zuckerman, H. (1987). Marriage, motherhood and research performance in science. Scientific American, 256, 119–125.
CU-Boulder (2001) Faculty recruitment and retention task force report. Available at: http://www.colorado.edu/AcademicAffairs/fac_recruit/index.html.
Dundar, H., & Lewis, D. R. (1998). Determinants of research productivity in higher education. Research in Higher Education, 39(6), 607–631.
Feist, G. (2006). The development of scientific talent in Westinghouse Finalists and members of the National Academy of Sciences. Journal of Adult Development, 13(1), 23–35.
Fels, A. (2004). A Necessary Dreams. New York: Pantheon Press.
Fox, M. F. (2005). Gender, family characteristics, and publication productivity among scientists. Social Studies of Science, 35(1), 131–150.
Fox, M. F., & Faver, C. A. (1985). Men, women, and publication productivity: patterns among social work academics. The Sociological Quarterly, 26(4), 537–549.
Freeman CE (2004) Trends in Educational Equity of Girls and Women: 2004 (NCES 2005– 016). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Guiso, L., Monte, F., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2008). Culture, gender, and math. Science, 320, 1164–1165.
Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Handelsman, J., Cantor, N., Carnes, M., Denton, D., Fine, E., Grosz, B., et al. (2005). More women in science. Science, 309(5738), 1190–1191.
Helmreich, R. L., Spence, J. T., Beane, W. E., Lucker, G. W., & Matthews, K. A. (1980). Making it in academic psychology: demographic and personality correlates of attainment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(5), 896.
Hemmasi, M., Graf, L. A., & Lust, J. A. (1992). Correlates of pay and benefit satisfaction: the unique case of public university faculty. Public Personnel Management, 21(4), 442–443.
Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), 16569–16572.
Holder, J. C., & Vaux, A. (1998). African American professionals: coping with occupational stress in predominantly white environments. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 53(3), 315–333.
Hosek, S., Cox, A., Ghosh-Dastidar, B., Kofner, A., Ramphal, N., Scott, J. S., & Berry, S. (2005) Gender Differences in Major Federal External Grant Programs. Available at: http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2005/RAND_TR307.pdf.
Hyde, J. S., Lindberg, S. M., Linn, M. C., Ellis, A. B., & Williams, C. C. (2008). Gender similarities characterize math performance. Science, 321, 494–495.
Hyde, J. S., & Linn, M. C. (2006). Gender similarities in mathematics and science. Science, 314, 599–600.
Iglesias, J. E., & Pecharromán, C. (2007). Scaling the h-index for different scientific ISI fields. Scientometrics, 73(3), 303–320.
Jackson, J. (2004). The Story Is Not in the Numbers: academic Socialization and Diversifying the Faculty. NWSA Journal, 1, 172–185.
Jackson, J. F. L. (2008). Race segregation across the academic workforce—Exploring factors that may contribute to the disparate representation of African American men. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(7), 1004–1029.
Jena, S. P. K. (1999). Job satisfaction, and occupational stress of women. Social Science International, 15(1), 75–80.
Kaplowitz, M. D., Lupi, F., Couper, M. P., & Thorp, L. (2012). The effect of invitation design on web survey response rates. Social Science Computer Review, 30, 339–349.
Kyvik, S. (2003). Change trends in publishing behaviour among university faculty, 1980–2000. Scientometrics, 58(1), 35–48.
Kyvik, S., & Teigen, M. (1996). Child care, research collaboration, and gender differences in scientific productivity. Science, Technology and Human Values, 21(1), 54–71.
Larivière, V., Archambault, É., Gingras, Y., & Vignola-Gagné, É. (2006). The place of serials in referencing practices, comparing natural sciences and engineering with social sciences and humanities. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57, 997–1004.
Lee, S., & Bozeman, B. (2005). The impact of research collaboration on scientific productivity. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 673–702.
Long, J. S. (1990). The Origins of Sex Differences in Science. Social Forces, 68(4), 1297–1316.
Long, J. S. (1992). Measures of Sex-Differences in Scientific Productivity. Social Forces, 71(1), 159–178.
Merton, R. K. (1968). The Matthew Effect in Science. Science, 159(3810), 56–63.
MIT (1999) A study of the status of women faculty in Science at MIT. Available at: http://web.mit.edu/fnl/women/women.pdf.
Nelson, D. (2005). A national analysis of diversity in science and engineering faculties at research universities. Available at: http://cheminfo.chem.ou.edu/faculty/djn/diversity/briefings/Diversity%20Report%20Final.pdf.
Nettles, M. T., & Millett, C. M. (2006). Three magic letters: getting to PhD. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Nettles, M. T., & Perna, L. W. (1995) Sex and race differences in faculty salaries, tenure, rank, and productivity: why on average do women, African Americans, and Hispanics have lower salaries, tenure, and rank? In Association for the Study of Higher Education. Orlando, FL.
Niemann, Y. F., & Dovidio, J. F. (1998). Relationship of solo status, academic rank, and perceived distinctiveness to job satisfaction of racial/ethnic minorities. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(1), 55–71.
NORC (2006) Survey of Earned Doctorates Questionnaire. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/surveys/srvydoctorates_2006.pdf.
NSF (2004) Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering.
NSF (2009b) Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2009. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.
NSF (2010a) Description of Survey of Doctorate Recipients. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctoratework/.
NSF (2010b) Description of Survey of Earned Doctorates. Available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/.
OER (2005) Sex/gender in the biomedical science workforce. Available at: http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/policy/sex_gender/q_a.htm#q5.
Pearson, W. (1985). Black scientists, white society, and colorless science: a study of universalism in American science. Millwood: Associated Faculty Press.
Penner, A. M. (2008). Gender differences in extreme mathematical achievement: an international perspective on biological and social factors. American Journal of Sociology, 114, S138–S170.
Penner, A. M., & Paret, M. (2008). Gender differences in mathematics achievement: exploring the early grades and the extremes. Social Science Research, 37, 239–253.
Preston, A. E. (2004). Leaving science: occupational exit from scientific careers. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Ramsden, P. (1994). Describing and Explaining Research Productivity. Higher Education, 28(2), 207–226.
Reskin, B. F. (1978). Scientific productivity, sex, and location in the institution of science. American Journal of Sociology, 83, 1235–1243.
Rosser, S. V. (2004a). The science glass ceiling. New York: Routledge.
Rosser, V. (2004b). Faculty Members’ Intentions to Leave: a National Study on Their Worklife and Satisfaction. Research in Higher Education, 45(3), 285.
Rutgers (2001) A study of gender equity in the faculty of arts and sciences. Available at: http://fas.rutgers.edu/onlineforms/gender_report.pdf.
Sax, L. J., Hagedorn, L. S., Arredondo, M., & Dicrisi, F. A. (2002). Faculty research productivity: exploring the role of gender and family-related factors. Research in Higher Education, 43(4), 423–446.
Simonton, D. K. (1992). Leaders of American Psychology, 1879–1967: career development, creative output, and professional achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(1), 5–17.
Skolnik, M. (2000). Does counting publications provide any useful information about academic performance? Teacher Education Quarterly, 27(2), 15–25.
Smeby, J. C., & Try, S. (2005). Departmental contexts and faculty research activity in Norway. Research in Higher Education, 46(6), 593–619.
Stack, S. (2004). Gender, children and research productivity. Research in Higher Education, 45(8), 891–920.
Steele, C. (1997). A threat in the air. How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychology, 52(6), 613–629.
Steele, C. M. (1999) Thin ice: “stereotype threat” and black college students. The Atlantic Monthly 284(2), 44–54.
Trower, C. A., & Bleak, J. L. (2004) The study of new scholars: tenure-track faculty job satisfaction survey: gender: statistical report [universities]. Available at: http://www.kuleuven.be/diversiteit/publicaties/Gender-statistical-report.pdf.
Trower, C. A., & Chait, R. P. (2002) Faculty diversity: too little for too long. Cambridge, MA.
Umbach, P. (2007). Gender equity in the academic labor market: an analysis of academic disciplines. Research in Higher Education, 48(2), 169.
Wai, J., Cacchio, M., Putallaz, M., & Makel, M. C. (2010). Sex differences in the right tail of cognitive abilities: a 30 year examination. Intelligence, 38(4), 412.
Wallace, M. L., Larivière, V., & Gringas, Y. (2009). Modeling a century of citation distributions. Journal of Informetrics, 3, 296–303.
Wenzel, S. A., & Hollenshead, C. (1998) Former women faculty: reasons for leaving one research university. Available at: http://www.cew.umich.edu/sites/default/files/wenzel98.pdf.
Xie, Y., & Shauman, K. A. (1998). Sex differences in research productivity: new evidence about an old puzzle. American Sociological Review, 63(6), 847–870.
Zhou, Y., & Volkwein, J. F. (2004). Examining the Influences on Faculty Departure Intentions: a Comparison of Tenured Versus Nontenured Faculty at Research Universities Using NSOPF-99. Research in Higher Education, 45(2), 139.
Zuckerman, H. (1996). Scientific elite: Nobel laureates in the United States. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Zuckerman, H., & Merton, R. K. (1973). Institutional patterns of evaluation in science. In N. W. Storer (Ed.), The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Academic attrition
- Publication productivity
- Gender disparities
- Racial and ethnic disparities