Gender and the h index in psychology
It has become increasingly common to rely on the h index to assess scientists’ contributions to their fields, and this is true in psychology. This metric is now used in many psychology departments and universities to make important decisions about hiring, promotions, raises, and awards. Yet, a growing body of research shows that there are gender differences in citations and h indices. We sought to draw attention to this literature, particularly in psychology. We describe the presence of a gender effect in h index in psychology and analyze why the effect is important to consider. To illustrate the importance of this effect, we translate the observed gender effect into a meaningful metric—that of salary—and show that the gender difference in h index could translate into significant financial costs for female faculty. A variety of factors are discussed that have been shown to give rise to gender differences in impact. We conclude that the h index, like many other metrics, may reflect systematic gender differences in academia, and we suggest using caution when relying on this metric to promote and reward academic psychologists.
Keywordsh index Citations Gender Psychology
We would like to thank Ludy Benjamin, Kathleen McDermott, Henry Roediger, and Jyotsna Vaid for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
- American Association of University Professors (2014). The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-2013. Retrieved from http://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/files/2014%20salary%20report/Table5.pdf.
- Angelov, N., Johansson, P., & Lindahl, E. (2013). Is the persistent gender gap in income and wages due to unequal family responsibilities? IZA Discussion Paper, 7181, 1–39.Google Scholar
- Astin, H. S. (1978). Factors affecting women’s scholarly productivity. In R. Park, H. S. Astin, & W. Z. Hirsch (Eds.), The higher education of women: Essays in honor of Rosemary Park (pp. 133–157). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Astin, H. S., & Bayer, A. E. (1979). Pervasive sex differences in the academic reward system: Scholarship, marriage, and what else. In D. R. Lewis & W. E. Becker (Eds.), Academic rewards in higher education (pp. 211–230). Cambridge: Ballinger Pub Co.Google Scholar
- Astin, H. S., & Davis, D. E. (1985). Research productivity across the life and career cycles: Facilitators and barriers for women. In M. F. Fox (Ed.), Scholarly writing and publishing: Issues, problems, and solutions (pp. 147–160). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2011). The persistent gap: Understanding male-female salary differentials amongst Canadian academic staff. A report from the Canadian Association of University Teachers Equity Review, 5, 1–8.Google Scholar
- Cole, J. R. (1979). Fair science: Women in the scientific community. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Cole, J. R., & Cole, S. (1973). Social stratification in science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Cole, J. R., & Zuckerman, H. (1984). The productivity puzzle: persistence and changes in patterns of publication of men and women scientists. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 2, 217–258.Google Scholar
- Holliday, E. B., Jagsi, R., Wilson, L. D., Choi, M., Thomas Jr, C. R., & Fuller, C. D. (2014). Gender differences in publication productivity, academic position, career duration and funding among US academic radiation oncology faculty. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 89, 767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- King, M. M., Correll, S. J., Jacquet, J., Bergstrom, C. T., & West, J. D. (unpublished manuscript). Men set their own cites high: Gender and self-citation across fields and over time. Retrieved from http://www.eigenfactor.org/gender/self-citation/SelfCitation.pdf.
- Kyvik, S. (1991). Productivity in academia: Scientific publishing at Norwegian Universities. Oslo: Norwegian University Press.Google Scholar
- Misra, J., Hicke Lundquist, J., Holmes, E., & Agiomavritis, S. (2011). The ivory ceiling of service work. Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors, 97, 22–26.Google Scholar
- Moed, H. F. (2005). Citation analysis in research evaluation. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Moss-Racusin, C., Molenda, A. K., & Cramer, C. R. (2015). Can evidence impact attitudes? Public reactions to evidence of gender bias in STEM fields. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1, 1–16.Google Scholar
- Osborn, M. (1998). Facts and figures still show little room at the top for women in science in most EU countries in the EC (eds) Women in science. Proceedings of the conference, Brussels, April 28–29th 1998. Luxembourg: Office for the Official Publications of the European Communities European Commission.Google Scholar
- Osborn, M., Rees, T. Bosoch, M., Ebeling, H., Hermann, C., et al. (2000). Science policies in the European Union: Promoting excellence through mainstreaming gender equality. A Report from the European Technology Assessment Network (ETAN) Expert Working Group on Women in Science.Google Scholar
- Roediger, H. L. (2006). The h index in Science: A new measure of scholarly contribution. The APS Observer, 19, 37–40.Google Scholar
- Valian, V. (1998). Why so slow? The advancement of women. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Waltman, L., Costas, R., & Jan van Eck, N. (2012). Some limitations of the h index: A commentary on Ruscio and colleagues' analysis of bibliometric indices. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 10, 172–175.Google Scholar
- Wicherski, B., Hamp, A., Christidis, P, & Stamm, K. (2014). American Psychological Association Center for Workforce Studies, 2013-14: Faculty salaries in graduate departments of psychology. Retrieved from http://apa.org/workforce/publications/13-fac-sal/index.aspx.
- Williams, G. L., Blackstone, T., & Metcalf, D. H. (1974). The academic labour market: Economic and social aspects of a profession (Vol. 3). Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Pub Co.Google Scholar
- Xie, Y., & Sherman, K. A. (2003). Women in science: Career processes and outcomes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar