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Gender differences in the aims and impacts of research

Abstract

This study uses mixed methods—classical citation analysis, altmetric analysis, a survey with researchers as respondents, and text analysis of the abstracts of scientific articles—to investigate gender differences in the aims and impacts of research. We find that male researchers more often value and engage in research mainly aimed at scientific progress, which is more cited. Female researchers more often value and engage in research mainly aimed at contributing to societal progress, which has more abstract views (usage). The gender differences are observed among researchers who work in the same field of research and have the same age and academic position. Our findings have implications for evaluation and funding policies and practices. A critical discussion of how societal engagement versus citation impact is valued, and how funding criteria reflect gender differences, is warranted.

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Acknowledgements

The present study is an extended version of a paper presented at the 17th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Rome (Italy), 2–5 September 2019 (Zhang et al. 2019). The authors acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71974150; 71573085; 72004169), the Major Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 19ZDA349) and by the Research Council of Norway, Grant 256223, FORINNPOL. The authors are very grateful for valuable advices from the two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Lin Zhang.

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The first author (Lin Zhang) is an associate-editor of Scientometrics, and the last author (Wolfgang Glänzel) is the editor-in-chief of Scientometrics.

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Zhang, L., Sivertsen, G., Du, H. et al. Gender differences in the aims and impacts of research. Scientometrics 126, 8861–8886 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04171-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04171-y

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Citation impact
  • Altmetrics
  • Usage
  • Societal impact
  • Research performance
  • Research evaluation